Japanese Meteorologists Say Rare ‘Training Thunderstorms’ Causing Deadly Flooding
Japan is under siege from flash flooding. The floods have created catastrophic damage and loss of life in multiple regions. The death toll topped 203 just hours ago. Now, rescue operations and survivors alike face horrific heat and humidity.
Japan hasn’t seen flooding of this magnitude since 1982. During those floods, over 300 people died as flash flooding swept across Kumamoto and Nagasaki prefectures.
As of yesterday, the country had endured over $200 million in losses. The good news is that drier weather is forecast for most of next week.
“As dry weather dominates, temperatures will rise and create uncomfortable conditions for those without power or access to clean drinking water,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Eric Leister said. But it will be hot and those who have lost air conditioning will be left exposed to the potential of heat-related illnesses. As will the 70,000 plus police, firefighters, and military personnel that is part of an ongoing rescue and damage assessment effort.
Japan’s tragic flooding is part of a unique set of circumstances that took the region off guard. The ravaged areas simply were not prepared to be inundated with flash flooding. The rare weather conditions, being called “Training Thunderstorms, caused thunderstorms to breed more thunderstorms in mountainous regions which created water funnels into lower elevation areas. Many of the victims were elderly people who simply couldn’t escape the expedited onset of flash flooding.
The storms are called “training” because they tend to come in as a row of cells. The mountains allowed hot, humid weather to create thunderstorm after thunderstorm, which served to pummel some regions with over a foot of rain in a short period of time.
Takashi Okuma, a professor emeritus at Niigata University, said, “The amount of the rain was enormous. It was unprecedented.”
It had been decades since these areas were forced to endure massive rainfalls in such short spans. The land was simply unable to keep up with the rainfall, so rather than absorb the water, it shed it away down the mountains in catastrophically, into neighborhoods.
Survivors continually combing their neighborhoods looking for friends and family that may have survived, but they are often coming up empty. The tragic circumstances have become desperate and laden with despair and struggle.
There are also concerns that the lack of power, extremely hot weather, and poor sanitation could now give rise to the spread of infectious diseases.
Japan is, of course, well rehearsed in domestic disasters. Earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as nuclear meltdowns, have been ravaged Japan in recent years. The 2018 Japan floods will most certainly present monumental efforts in terms of rebuilding and recovering, however. The country has a proven history of triumphing beyond natural disasters.
Read our how to survive a flash flood prepper guide for more information on this deadly weather phenomenon.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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