East Japan in Danger of Drying Up

I picked the feature image because it looked like ukiyoe artist, Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, one of the most famous pieces in the Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji series.

That aside, Japan is facing an impending water crisis. Or rather, East Japan is. Western Japan, especially Kyushu, is constantly wrought with heavy rains and floods due to the lower air  pressure in the upper atmosphere. Also, its proximity to the Okinawa area means any typhoon is more likely to bring some rain unlike the farther Kanto region.

At the last winter, due to the warmer climate, snow fall was much lesser than usual. This means, as the temperature gets warmer in the spring and summer, fewer amount of snow is melted into water into the reservoirs used in the households. On top of that, there has been surprisingly few rainfall in spite of the rainy season. What more, there’s been no typhoon to bring about heavy rainfall in the region. Water in the dams of the Kanto area fell to around 37% a few days ago and it still hasn’t rained. To make things worse, there is a record high temperature of over 38 degree Celsius in Yamanashi prefecture yesterday. If this continues, there will be water rationing that hasn’t happened since Adam ate the apple (←hyperbole). Experts have said that it only takes one typhoon to restore the required amount of water level as each typhoon brings about 5 to 40 billion tons of rain with it.

Early this week, the first typhoon of the year finally occurred. However, due to the higher water pressure, the typhoon is being led toward Taiwan heading up China and has a low chance of hitting Kanto.

Image taken from NHK

This is what the expected path currently looks like—pretty far out from Japan’s main islands.

For the first time, I’m actually praying for typhoon.


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