A slow-moving Typhoon "Noru" approached the Japanese mainland on Sunday, August 6, 2017, leaving on its way at least 2 people dead and forcing authorities to issue evacuation advisories for at least 210 000.
By early August 6 (UTC), Noru has been a typhoon for 13 days, which made it the longest-lived NW Pacific typhoon since Typhoon "Rita" of 1972. It is also the longest-lived hurricane strength tropical cyclone anywhere around the globe since Hurricane "Ioke" of 2016. For comparison, the longest-lived hurricane-strength tropical cyclone anywhere around the globe since 1970 was Hurricane "Ginger" in the Atlantic Ocean in 1971 at 19.5 days, according to CSU meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
During those 13 days, Noru danced with and consumed one typhoon, it lost its strength, gained it again and became the first super typhoon of the year, lost it again and approached southern Japan as Category 1 hurricane equivalent. It then stalled over the Amami island chain, located just south of the southwest main island of Kyushu, on Saturday, August 5 and early Sunday, August 6, dumping very heavy rain, leaving at least one road crumbled and setting off a handful of landslides.
Noru approached southern Japan exactly one month after unprecedented torrential rains and landslides killed 36 people in Fukuoka and Oita prefectures. This region was still recovering from those events while preparing for another deluge.
In hard-hit Asakura, which had the highest death toll from the deluge that began July 5, efforts to find five people who remain unaccounted for have continued amid a heat wave in Fukuoka Prefecture. The city still has evacuation warnings in place for more than 10 000 residents in some 4 000 households in seven districts. About 500 residents are living in shelters, according to The Japan Times.
Parts of southern Kyushu were hit by as much as 34 mm (1.3 inches) of rain in the hour to 17:00 JST, August 6, further increasing the risk of floods and landslides. Over the past 48 hours, the typhoon dumped 639 mm (25.1 inches) of rain in Naze, the average August rainfall there is 200 - 300 m (7.9 - 11.8 inches).
Noru has already caused two direct deaths, left at least 9 people missing and forced authorities to issue evacuation advisories for at least 210 000.
As of 13:45 UTC on August 6, the center of Typhoon "Noru" was located 94 km (59 miles) E of the coastal city of Miyazaki and 217 km (135 miles) S of the city of Kochi on the island of Shikoku. The system is moving NE at a speed of 20 km/h (12.4 mph) and minimum central pressure of 975 hPa.
Typhoon "Noru" forecast track by JMA at 13:00 UTC on August 6, 2017
Its maximum wind speed near the center, according to JMA, is 111 km/h (69 mph), with wind gusts to 157 km/h (98 mph). Noru is expected to maintain that strength during the rest of the day and slightly weaken, to 93 km/h (57 mph), by 12:00 UTC on August 7.
Although the typhoon is now weakening, it's still dropping heavy rain and remains a concern for the island of Honshu who will bear heaviest of the rains over the next couple of days. Rainfall of up to 600 mm (23.6 inches) was forecast for Kagoshima Prefecture, including some southern islands, and up to 400 mm (15.7 inches) for Miyazaki Prefecture by Monday morning, local time.
Featured image: Typhoon "Noru" at 13:40 UTC on August 6, 2017. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, CIRA/RAMMB