Monday, April 25, 2011

Tales from Japan: Tornado in Chiba?

This is a photo taken at Isumi, in Chiba in 2008 shows that tornadoes do sometimes appear in Japan.  Photo source
That`s right! The madness continues, as a tornado suddenly struck the northern area of Chiba as well as touched down in Ibaraki, Japan.  Unbelievably there have been no injuries reported as of yet, but there was a whole lot of damage.

Tornadoes are a rare occurrence in Japan.  Unlike earthquakes most Japanese buildings are not equipped to handle them.  There are no basements in Japanese houses and not many places to hunker down in, or hide in, in regards to other buildings.  It must have been a very frightening scene for those who witnessed the carnage.  A total of 31 homes as well as lots of property damage was done by the tornado which was followed up by a magnitude 5 earthquake a few hours later.  A possible connection?

I have read various scientific findings that discuss the effects strong earthquakes have on the ionosphere. (the part of the sky where the "weather" forms).  I was on the way to work when I noticed the instant change in the weather.  If you follow me on twitter or facebook you probably saw my post about it. 

In fact if you watch this video from this link below it shows some of the damage itself, one of the cities Kamagaya, I actually passed through there on the way to work! I literally missed the tornado by minutes.  I started work at 1pm and it touched down about 10 minutes after I got to work.

This shorter clip shows some shots of the damage along with the tornado before it gained strength.

There was a tornado in Chiba in 1990 that struck the city of Mobara and killed one person.  And there are occasionally some water spouts over the ocean, but there are very few that actually touch down on land.  This time it seems like Chiba was lucky but again homes and property have been severely damaged.  On top of the earthquakes it certainly makes people living in Japan feel all that more vulnerable. 

So much for life going back to normal...

I also ran into this amazing video of a dust devil that happened right in the middle of a soccer tournament in the city of Matsumoto

In Japanese the word Tatsumaki, is used for both tornado and dust devil. There is no size distinction nor is there a class level assigned to them like in the US. The fact they do not have classification nor distinct words for various forms shows how rare they actually are!
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