Typhoon? There’s an app for that.

One of the more extreme forms of weather we have in Japan is typhoons. We’re lucky that we don’t get hit as hard as the Philippines or Taiwan, and in Tokyo we escape quite a lot; Okinawa and Kyushu are far more exposed to anything heading this way.

So it was with Typhoon #22, or Prapiroon, apparently named after the Thai God of Rain. There is a list of names for typhoons every year, a combination of names from different Asian countries, which makes odd reading, but domestically we stick to numbers. Before it reached the Kanto region, #22 had affected Okinawa and Kyushu with power outages and trains, ferries and flights being cancelled. Yesterday the humidity started rising, and the pressure was dropping. By mid afternoon it had started raining in Tokyo and by 6 o’clock the rain was heavy. It continued for a few hours, but by midnight it had just about stopped.

As I said in the title of this post, of course there’s an app (probably a number of apps) to track typhoons and so I can show you what we were under yesterday:

I was glad I didn’t have to go out in it, but being something of a human barometer I did get a migraine. If you’ve never had one I would describe it as having your head squeezed in a vice while needles are jabbed into your brain. Ouch. All I can do is take sumatriptan, apply ice packs and hope the typhoon gets a move on. I’m happy to report this one did.

It reminded me of a particularly strong typhoon we had last year, and one that I found myself experiencing rather more than I would have liked. I had thought it would hit Tokyo a few hours later and so had gone out, only to be stranded when the train lines started shutting down. I ended up having to walk home in the driving rain and while it was an incredibly soggy experience I can report the following:

Typhoons smell of the ocean.

Of course they do, because typhoons gather strength over water and suck up all the seawater and then dump it on the land, but it was fascinating (in a very wet way) to be walking in the middle of Tokyo and smell ozone.

But back to yesterday’s typhoon. By this morning it had moved on, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the air felt fresh. Autumn is in the air, and surely there can’t be many more typhoons left this year.


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