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How to Prepare for a Typhoon in Japan

Post: Sunday August 23, 2015

It is not only earthquakes that you may need to keep in your mind as risks of natural disasters in Japan. Because of sea temperature level rise due to global warming in recent years, typhoons originate closer to Japan and are becoming more powerful.

Typhoon Injapan

Tropic storms which arise from tropic depressions are called "typhoons" in Japan and Eastern Asia. They are also called as "hurricanes" in North and Central America and "cyclones" in other regions. In Japan, a tropic depression with the maximum wind speed (MWS) faster than 33kt is called "Taifu". Internationally, any tropic depressions with MWS 64kt or faster are called as "Typhoon."


Scale of Typhoon

ScaleThe radius of the area where Wind Speed is faster than 15m/s
N/A Smaller than 500km
Large Larger than 500km but smaller than 800km
Huge 800km or larger


Typhoon Force

Max wind speedCategorization in JapanInternational Categorization
~17 m/s (33 kt) Tropical Depression Tropical Depression
17 m/s (34 kt) – 25 m/s (48 kt) Taifu Tropical Storm
25 m/s (48 kt) – 33 m/s (64 kt) Taifu Serve Tropical Storm
33 m/s (64 kt) – 44 m/s (85 kt) Taifu (strong  Tsuyoi) Typhoon
44 m/s (85 kt) – 54 m/s (105 kt) Taifu (very strong  Hijoni tsuyoi) Typhoon
54 m/s (105 kt)~ Taifu (violent  Mo-retsuna) Typhoon

From Japan Meteoroidal Agency website Wind speed: m/s (meter/second) fu-soku, kt (knots) notto

On the news and weather forecast, a typhoon is normally described as "a large and very strong typhoon," etc.
When the Meteoroidal Agency announces the warning ("Keiho") or the advisory ("Chuiho"), please pay attention and be cautions.

Major warnings expected at the time of typhoon

Type of alarms
Heavy rain warning
O-ame keiho
It is announced when there is a risk of severe disasters due to heavy rain.Such disasters include severe inundation and severe sliding.
Flooding warning
Ko-zui keiho
It is announced when there is a risk of severe disasters because river water levels rising due to heavy rain, continual rain, snow melting, etc.Such disasters include the rise or overflow of the river, damages or breakages of the dike, etc.
Storm warning
Bo-fu- keiho
It is announced when there is a risk of severe disasters due to violent wind.
High surf warning
Haro- keiho
It is announced when there is a risk of severe disasters due to high surf.
The "high surf" totally differs from "tsunami" appears after earthquakes.
High tide warning
Takashio keiho
It is announced when there is a risk of severe disasters due to the sea level rise caused by a typhoon or low atmospheric pressure.

From Japan Meteoroidal Agency website

A gauge for the strength of wind speed

  • 20m/s wind speed: People cannot stand straight easily, and driving a car can be dangerous.
  • 25m/s wind speed: Trees can be torn down from the roots.

Weather warnings and alarms for the Kanto district

>> (English)


When an warning or advisory is announced

These are five rules of thumb to remember to take the appropriate action in the event of a storm or flood at home.

1. Prepare outside the house

Shut windows and shutters, secure things which can fall or be blown away, and clean places with poor drainage.

2. Prepare inside the house

Check emergency supplies (See appendix), and affix tape over glass to prevent glass from scattering causing shards.

3. Pay attention to storm/flood information

Listen to the latest weather warnings, alarms and evacuation information from the television and radio.

4. Evacuate at an early stage

Do not delay in evacuating when an evacuation advisory is issued or you feel in danger.

Please check the evacuation method and the location of an evacuation site in advance as they vary depending on local administrative offices.

5. Do not approach dangerous places

Do not approach places where the riverbed is high, or where a flood or landslide may occur.

Examples of dangerous places

[In case of high tide]

Shallow beach or harbor area, river mouth areas;

Around shallow beaches where water can deepen quickly and areas around harbors are vulnerable to high water conditions.

Coastal areas below sea level;

Stay away from areas that are below average sea level at full tide. Levee breaks may cause serious disaster.

[In case of flooding]

Alluvial area;

Exercise extreme caution because deltas (made of sediment carried by the river and deposited at the mouth of a river) and floodplains (area made of deposited sand carried by consistent floods) can flood easily.

Dry riverbed;

River basins and dry riverbeds can have a danger of flooding during downpours.

[In case of sliding]

Developed land;

Developed land that was made by breaking up hillsides may contain unstable soil and terrain. These areas may slide when downpours loosen the ground.

Alluvial cone;

Torrential downpours may cause mountain landslides, and alluvial cones at the foot of a mountain may receive a direct hit.

Mountain range;

Steep sloping lands of greater than 30° angles and taller than 5m may landslide when there is rain. There is danger of mudslides at treeless mountains.

From Tokyo Metropolitan Government website

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