Japan’s southwestern region fell victim to the country’s fourteenth typhoon of the season on the evening of 18th September, 2022. Strong winds, and large volumes of rainfall signaled the arrival of typhoon Nanmadol. The city of Kagoshima experienced the initial rainfall on Sunday evening, and the typhoon was set to advance into the main island of Honshu during the early hours of the following Monday morning. Typhoon Nanmadol is estimated to be the fourth strongest typhoon that the island country has experienced, with initial wind speeds recorded at approximately 110 miles per hour and heavy rainfall.

So far, rainfall has caused river banks to burst – flooding land fields, roads and other infrastructure. An estimated 300,000 homes have been disconnected from electricity, and several train routes and flights have been temporarily suspended out of caution due to typhoon Nanmadol. Moreover, Two fatalities, and several other storm-related injuries have been reported, while approximately 9 million people have been warned to evacuate their homes.

Following the evacuation advisories, groups of residents have spent the past few nights in sports centers and other facilities with capacity to shelter large numbers of people. On the other hand, the governmental response to typhoon Nanmadol has been relatively swift. The suspension of travel and evacuation memos were quickly implemented and followed through. Japanese Prime Minister Fumo Kishida responded hastily as well, including delaying his travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

As of now, the strength of the typhoon has steadily decreased, with wind speeds falling to 63 miles per hour – reducing the risk of complete damage. The typhoon is not predicted to fully hit some cities, including Tokyo; though the entire country is experiencing higher levels of rainfall. Experts continue to warn against potential secondary hazards like mudslides and prolonged flooding.

Japan’s unique location within the Pacific Ocean causes frequent typhoons for the nation. Its yearly typhoon season is usually between April and October, with peak seasons occurring between August and September. During this season, Japan’s outer islands generally experience around a dozen typhoons, while very few typhoons reach the main islands.

Japan has invested heavily on infrastructure and response protocols, as the nation has experienced multiple natural hazards ranging from earthquakes, extremely hot summers and cyclical typhoons. These investments relieve stress on response systems, and minimize the potential damages from severe disasters.

However, several international climate organizations have warned that such extreme natural disasters might happen more frequently, as climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue. The Nanmadol typhoon coupled with current floods in Pakistan and extreme seasonal temperatures are worrying indicators of the increasing number of natural disasters occurring due to climate change.

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