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More updated maps added below.
Green is above average rainfall. Kyodo news has said as much of 500 mm could fall, which is 19.7 inches – torrential rain. One can but hope that this is inaccurate. [Update 6.50 UTC-Z – thus far, according to Japanese Meteo Agency radar, the outer bands coming in are dropping the heaviest rain generally well to the north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, with the exception of Fukushima proper. The Fukushima nuclear power station is getting lighter rain. Nonetheless, even the very light rain over the course of 8 to 10 hours could easily add up to 200 mm of rain – rain which is not needed at the nuclear site which is already overwhelmed with cooling water. And, we must wait and see until the typhoon comes ashore. As well, the heavy rain in Fukushima proper may roll down to the nuclear power station due to topography.][Update 15.17 UTC: Shortly before landfall the typhoon appears to have changed course and veered north, apparently sparing the already overwhelmed Fukushima Daiichi torrential rain. The area of the Oma nuclear power station, under construction, appears to have been badly hit by rain, possible landslides.]
Typhoon Lionrock is expected to make landfall to the north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power station. This is expected to cause “inundation” (flooding) and “ground-loosening”, which will mean even more dumping of radioactive water to the Pacific. And, people had better be concerned about this, because even fairly short-lived radionuclides, like tritium, will be radioactive for longer than you will be alive. Large amounts of rainfall and “ground-loosening” could be detrimental to the stability of the nuclear power station itself. It seems that “ground-loosening” could involve more than landslides per se.
This Pacific Garbage Patch Map Shows Why North America Should be Highly Concerned. World Currents found at the bottom of the page indicate that some of it will go into the Arctic and even impact Northern Europe.
“Weather Warnings/Advisories: Fukushima” Updated at 23:20 JST, 29 August 2016 Source: Japan Meteorological Agency website” http://www.jma.go.jp/en/warn/313_table.html
Kyodo News, 15.59, 29 August 2016, reported in “UPDATE1: Powerful Typhoon Lionrock approaching eastern Japan“that “The Tohoku region may see a maximum of 500 millimeters of rain in 24 hours by Wednesday noon, topping the total rainfall in the whole month of an average August, the weather agency said, warning of possible landslides.” https://web.archive.org/web/20160829142029/http://kyodonews.net/news/2016/08/29/77372 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/29/national/japan-braces-for-powerful-typhoon-lionrock/
500 millimetres = 50 cm = 19.7 inches One can but hope that Kyodo News made a typo, but given the Warning by Japan’s Meteorological Agency, it may not be.
To put this amount in context, the following storm, in May of 1995, overwhelmed pumping capacities: “By Wednesday morning, storm total rainfall amounts of 10 to 20 inches (25 to 51 cm) were common across portions of southeast Louisiana and south Mississippi.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1995_Louisiana_flood
This month: “A shocking multi-day deluge led to total rainfall amounts measured in feet. Watson, LA—about 20 miles northeast of Baton Rouge—experienced an astounding 31.39 inches of rain from the storm. White Bayou, LA, saw 26.14 inches. Livingston ended up with 25.52 inches. Baton Rouge “only” received over 19 inches.” https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/august-2016-extreme-rain-and-floods-along-gulf-coast
In the UK: Heavy rainfall from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 December led to widespread flooding in Cumbria and across other parts of northern Britain. The flooding resulted from some exceptionally high rainfall totals across the Cumbrian fells, exceeding 300mm and breaking existing UK rainfall records. These floods followed recent severe flooding affecting Cumbria in November 2009 and major floods in Carlisle in January 2005. 341.4mm of rain fell at Honister Pass, Cumbria, in 24-hours to 1800 GMT on 5 December 2015, a new UK rainfall record, while at Thirlmere 405.0mm also set a new record for two consecutive rain-days (0900 – 0900 GMT)“.http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/december2015
While this reportedly will be the first typhoon to make landfall in the Tohoku region since 1951, other typhoons have impacted the region: https://web.archive.org/web/20160829110545/http://news.tbs.co.jp/newseye/tbs_newseye2855740.html
Impacts of Some other Typhoons on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
(What could be found quickly; probably not comprehensive)
For Typhoon Roke concerns were raised that “The typhoon was expected to batter the island nation for three continuous days, as it moved through the tsunami ravaged Fukushima Prefecture. Rainwater may leak into the basements of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s reactors“, but lo and behold, it was claimed that the security cameras broke: “Typhoon Roke caused no immediate problems other than broken security cameras at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant…”
For Typhoon Wipha (2013): “At the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 12 water storage tanks overflowed from the typhoon’s heavy rains. Beta radiation levels skyrocketed to 400,000 becquerels in the wake of the storm, 6,500 times greater than prior to Wipha. The overflow was blamed on TEPCO’s inadequate preparation and not heeding warnings of the storm. In addition, beta radiation was detected in areas beyond the levees designed to hold back contaminated water. On October 24, it was announced that radiation levels in water near the Fukushima nuclear plant reached an all-time high of 140,000 becquerels, greatly surpassing the previous peak of 59,000 becquerels.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Wipha_(2013)
Then there was Typhoon Phanfone and Vongfong in 2014:
“Some 150,000 becquerels of tritium per liter were measured in a groundwater sample taken Thursday from a well east of the No. 2 reactor… The well is close to the plant’s port in the Pacific… The water crisis could get worse as the nation braces for Typhoon Vongfong this week. Although downgraded from supertyphoon status, the storm was still packing winds of up to 180 kph and on course to hit Kyushu by Monday.” (“Tritium up tenfold in Fukushima groundwater after Typhoon Phanfone“:http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/12/national/tritium-surges-10-fold-in-groundwater-at-fukushima-nuclear-plant-typhoon-effect-suspected)
“Michael Maqua, nuclear expert at GRS, a German-based organization specializing in the fields of nuclear safety and radioactive waste management, says in a DW interview that while it is likely that some rain water will mix with the contaminated water in the basements of the reactor buildings and thus more radioactivity may be washed into the sea, no critical scenarios are expected given that the vital functions of the plant are secured and out of the reach of flood waters.” http://www.dw.com/en/is-fukushima-capable-of-withstanding-a-super-typhoon/a-17987229 (Note that Maqua doesn’t think dumping more radioactive water to the Pacific is critical.)
During Typhoon Mindulle: “In Fukushima Prefecture, a boat carrying five Japan Coast Guard members capsized off the city of Minamisoma on Sunday afternoon, killing one, the Coast Guard said“. http://www.indialivetoday.com/japan-is-devastated-by-typhoon-mindulle-landing-near-chiba-prefecture/21954.htmlhttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/22/national/another-typhoon-feared-to-make-landfall-on-hokkaido
In July 2015 TEPCO reported: “Overflow of some rain water from “Drainage K” into the sea due to heavy rainfall” https://web.archive.org/web/20150919060732/http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150716_01-e.pdf