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Typhoon Bualoi (No. 21) hits

This morning, Typhoon Bualoi (typhoon no. 21) swept through Chiba Prefecture (located east of Tokyo) and its neighboring areas. It brought strong wind and torrential rains along the area, including where I stay. I commute to work by bus, hence I was partly drenched while waiting for the delayed bus due to the unavoidable traffic congestion at the bus stop.

The plum rain season in autumn is quite chilling, especially when one only wore thin clothing. However, the typhoon was the main cause of today’s weather, with areas recording almost one month’s worth of rainfall in half a day!

Near noon, I received multiple warning alerts from the local municipal government regarding advisories to perform evacuation at affected places. However, I wasn’t alone in this regard. iOS devices (notably iPhones), when received the said warning alerts, sounded an alert tone with the warning messages appearing on screen. The alert tone amplified with the presence of many iOS devices at the same floor.

Many colleagues looked at each other amusingly as they confirmed the message they received — a landslide confirmation information, advisories regarding water level at nearby riverbanks hitting dangerous level (which can overflow), evacuation advisories and listing places to evacuate to in case of danger.

[Level 4 alert] Evacuation advisory

I received an evacuation advisory alert (issued at 2019/10/25 13:00) sent by the local municipal government to residents of high risk areas (where I was at) to evacuate to the designated evacuation area(s)/shelter(s) if necessary, including community centers and schools.

From what I’ve gathered from the news, cases of severe flooding, river water overflowing, and landslides had caused damage to properties, partial paralysis to transportation, and even death. Even though typhoon is not an uncommon phenomenon to the Japanese, the severity and strength of the typhoons these few months had left them in an undesirable state. As temperature gets cooler over the course of the autumn season, some people might find it hard to go through, especially those who needed to rebuild their homes.

Fortunately, in the area where I live, nothing destructive had happened — yet, the effects of the typhoon are still visible. People cramming in trains going home at reduced speed (due to possible flood and winds), cleaning up of garbage flew all over the place, and so on.

I sincerely hope the victims can recover soon from these disasters, and let this typhoon be the last one in this decade.

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Typhoon comes in threes… and more

Continuing from the devastating Typhoon Faxai last month, Typhoon Hagibis (No. 19) struck Japan at Saturday, October 12, that had created a new record in the Japanese history. Rivaled the Typhoon Kanogawa that wrecked the island nation and caused at least 1000 people dead, Typhoon Hagibis left some parts of Japan paralyzed and disruption for short to medium amount of time in various areas, notably transportation and residential areas. Although Japan is well prepared for natural disasters like these, Typhoon Hagibis’ wrath had definitely cause miserable amount of inconveniences in daily life.

At that Saturday, I was in a friend’s house in western Tokyo. My friends and I were caught off guard when we had a look at the typhoon’s projected path — we were extremely close to it! The typhoon landed Tokyo and continue upwards during the midnight, where it continued to cause havoc, including floods in areas near rivers, and landslides at hilly areas. Lucky for us, my friend’s house was left unharmed (so did mine, a property which was built in the 1970s!). We couldn’t go outside — the wind was so strong that it could take you down, or worse, causing an object to fly at high speed and possibly hit us.

The next Sunday morning, it was like a dream — the sun in western Tokyo shone so bright, and the temperature had quickly risen to the normal autumn temperature — chilly yet warm. However, it was nightmare to people who had evacuated and people who had their homes and properties destroyed. It was only less than a month apart from Faxai.

Yet, two more typhoons, No. 20 and No. 21, are headed to Japan this week. Luckily, typhoon No. 20 brought only strong winds and rains with no devastating consequences. Its arrival also coincided with the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito at Tuesday, October 22. Perhaps it was symbolic — when the emperor proclaimed his accession to the throne, it turned sunny that Tuesday afternoon.

As of now, Typhoon No. 21 (Bualoi) is looming on the horizon as weather alerts and warnings were issued for the weekend — strong winds accompanied by huge rainfalls.

Living here for less than 2 years, I can sense how volatile this nation is due to its geographical location — one would never expect what will happen next. Maybe due to this volatility, many things were put into perspective and priorities reshuffled, I think.

I sincerely hope and wish for the best for the victims — time to brace for another unsettling weekend.

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Devastating Faxai

The Typhoon Faxai (or widely known as Typhoon No. 15 in Japan) hit Greater Tokyo area in the dawn of Monday, September 9. Living in the inner part of Greater Tokyo, I felt the power unleashed upon the area. I woke up to the strong howling wind and heavy rain at sometime after 4.30 a.m.. Unable to continue sleeping, I turned on the TV to know the latest update (the public broadcaster NHK has news show in its domestic channel from 4.30am onward in weekdays).

Looking through the glass door, I can see the rain fell heavily and winds blew strongly at high speed. It began hitting the Greater Tokyo area at around 5 a.m.. Around the same time, I received multiple alerts from the local government — evacuation advisory alerts, advising people to be prepared for evacuation in the event the disaster worsened, and urged elderly people to immediately evacuate to a safer place.

In the early morning, transportation modes were severely paralyzed, and train services were temporarily halted until midday. Usually go to work by bus, I resorted to walk to my office when even bus and taxis were unavailable.

Many people sorted to take half-day leave (which eventually stretched to whole-day) from the office, opted to stay at home for various reasons. Employees who lived at the vicinity of the typhoon-hit area were forced to stay at home, possibly due to the paralyzed transportation condition, or fixing damages caused by the typhoon.

There were severe blackouts, lack of water and mobile coverage outages near my area. The condition worsened when the temperature quickly rose to 30 C and above (and it was humid too!). I was extremely sad by the condition. A donation page was created on Yahoo! Donation, but I hope more will come soon.