Typhoon Flo (1990)

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Typhoon Flo
Typhoon (JMA scale)
Category 5 (Saffir–Simpson scale)
Flo 16 sept 1990 2242Z.jpg
Super Typhoon Flo at peak intensity on September 16
Formed September 8, 1990
Dissipated September 22, 1990
(Extratropical after September 20)
Highest winds 10-minute sustained: 220 km/h (140 mph)
1-minute sustained: 270 km/h (165 mph)
Lowest pressure 890 hPa (mbar); 26.28 inHg
Fatalities 38 dead, 12 missing, 90 injured
Damage $4 billion (1990 USD)
Areas affected Japan
Part of the 1990 Pacific typhoon season

Typhoon Flo, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Norming, was a powerful Category 5 typhoon that killed over 30 people and caused over $4 billion (1990 USD) in damages when it struck Honshū, Japan in mid-September 1990. The twelfth typhoon and first super typhoon of the 1990 Pacific typhoon season, it formed on September 8, as Tropical Depression 20W. It reached typhoon status on September 15, 1990. It rapidly intensified on the 16th and 17th to a 165 mph super typhoon near Okinawa. Vertical shear weakened it as it recurved to the northeast, and Flo hit Honshū on the 19th as a 155 km/h (100 mph) typhoon. It continued rapidly northeastward, became extratropical on the 20th, and dissipated on the 22nd.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale
Super Typhoon Flo after peak intensity on September 17

The origins of Typhoon Flo can be traced to an area of convection that first formed to the southeast of the Marshall Islands on September 7. At 06:00 UTC the next day, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) started tracking the system[1] while it was located about 430 km (270 mi) east-southeast of Guam. Initially, the disturbance tracked generally west-northwest[2] as it remained weak. Over the next four days, the storm's convective structure slowly improved caused by an expansion of its equatorial outflow channel while also turning westward - on a course typical of a straight runner.[1] On September 12, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) classified the system as a tropical depression.[3][nb 1] Following the disturbance's development of a well-defined upper-level center and an additional increase in organization, aided by the subtropical jet the JTWC issued a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert at 05:30 UTC that day. At 18:00 UTC on September 12, the JTWC declared the system a tropical depression.[1] Six hours later, the JMA upgraded the depression into a tropical storm,[3] with the JTWC followed suit based on Dvorak classifications of T2.5/65 km/h (40 mph).[1]

Around this time, Flo began to track west-northwest at a pace of 23 km/h (14 mph) under the influence of a subtropical ridge to the north. Flo initially intensified at the climatological rate of one T number per day,[1] and at 06:00 UTC on September 14, the JMA upgraded Flo to a severe tropical storm. Early the following day, both agencies classified Flo as a typhoon,[5][nb 2] although operationally the JTWC did not upgrade Flo into a typhoon until 06:00 UTC, when the storm developed a small but circular eye. After becoming a typhoon, Flo began to rapidly intensify.[1] Over the ensuing 36 hours, the JTWC estimated that Flo deepened by 130 km/h (80 mph).[7] Midday on September 12, the JTWC upgraded Flo into a super typhoon, which is defined by the JTWC as a tropical cyclone with winds of at least 240 km/h (150 mph), although satellite intensity estimates suggested that Flo was even stronger. At 06:00 UTC on September 13, the JTWC raised the intensity of the typhoon to 265 km/h (165 mph), equal to Category 5 status on the United States-based Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS); the basis for this was flight level observations from a Hurricane Hunter aircraft. Shortly thereafter, a dropsonde from the aircraft measured a barometric pressure of 891 mbar (26.3 inHg).[1] Around this time, the JMA estimated the typhoon peaked in intensity, with winds of 225 km/h (140 mph) and a pressure of 890 mbar (26 inHg).[3]

Around the time Flo peaked in intensity, the typhoon began to recurve to the northeast in response to a deepening mid-latitude shortwave trough to the northwest, which induced a break in the subtropical ridge. At 00:00 UTC on September 18, the JTWC estimated that the typhoon weakened back to a typhoon. Weakening continued due to increased vertical wind shear, although the warm waters of the Kuroshio Current helped Flo maintain some of its intensity. Typhoon Flo accelerated northeastward towards Honshu in response to a trough passing north of the system.[1] Around 06:00 UTC on September 1,[5] the storm made landfall on southern Honshu,[1] with the JTWC and JMA reporting winds of 170 km/h (105 mph) and 160 km/h (100 mph) respectively at the time of landfall.[5] After passing over Japan, Flo began to transitioned into an extratropical cyclone.[1] At 00:00 UTC on September 20, the JMA declared Flo extratropical,[3] while the JTWC downgraded it to a tropical storm. Six hours later, the JTWC issued their last warning on the system because it had completed its extratropical transition.[1] The extratropical remnants of Flo were last noted on the morning of September 22.[3]

Preparations[edit]

Wettest tropical cyclones and their remnants in Japan
Highest-known totals
Precipitation Storm Location Ref.
Rank mm in
1 2781.0 109.50 Fran 1976 Hiso [8]
2 >2000.0 >78.74 Namtheum 2004 Kisawa [9]
3 1805.5 71.08 Talas 2011 Kamikitayama [10]
4 1518.9 59.80 Olive 1971 Ebino [11]
5 1322.0 52.04 Nabi 2005 Mikado [12]
6 1286.0 50.62 Kent 1992 Hidegadake [13]
7 1167.0 45.94 Judy 1989 Hidegadake [14]
8 1138.0 44.80 Abby 1983 Amagisan [15]
9 1124.0 44.25 Flo 1990 Yanase [16]
10 ~1092.0 ~43.00 Trix 1971 Yangitake [17]

While preparing for the storm, two injures occurred in Tagajō.[18] Flood warnings were issued on September 19 for Tokyo, Yokohama, and Chiba.[19] Storm surge warnings were issued for the coastal areas of Yamanashi Prefecture.[20]

Impact and aftermath[edit]

Typhoon Flo was the strongest system to affect Japan since 1959.[21] For a period of three days,[22] the typhoon dropped heavy rainfall across much of the Japanese archipelago,[23] which caused damage in 44 of 47 prefectures.[22] A peak rainfall total occurred of 1,124 mm (44.3 in) at Yanase Station.[24] A peak hourly rainfall total of 1,124 mm (44.3 in) was observed in Setouchi.[25] Meanwhile, a peak daily precipitation total of 543 mm (21.4 in) fell in Hidegadake.[26] A wind gust of 151 km/h (94 mph) was recorded on Muroto.[27] A minimum barometric pressure of 971.3 mbar (28.68 inHg) was recorded at Gifu, the fourth lowest pressure observed since observations at the station began in 1883.[28]

Along the northernmost island of the Japanese archipelago, in Hokkaido Prefecture, damage amounted to 6.8 billion yen. Due to a prolonged period of heavy rain caused by Flo, in conjunction with several other tropical cyclones, rainfall was 300% of normal in some locations on the island as of mid-September 1991 while sunshine time was a mere 64% of average.[29] A landslide in Urakawa damaged one homes and injured two people, one seriously.[30] Throughout Aomori Prefecture, 631 dwellings sustained flooding, including 25 homes in Aomori city, while 21 roads and 483 embankments were damaged. A total of 954 ha (2,360 acres) of apples were damaged and 191 households lost power in Hirosaki City. Damage in the prefecture was estimated at 8.26 billion yen, 485 million yen of which came from property.[31] Further south, in Akita Prefecture, 206 homes were flooded, with 204 others damaged. There were also 54 landslides, two injuries, and 34 homeless. A total of 1,488 ha (3,680 acres) of crops were damaged, including 800 ha (1,975 acres) in Akita City.[32] Late on September 19, the typhoon passed directly over Iwate Prefecture, where there were reports of 32 landslides, one fatality, and 275 flooded houses. Twenty-one bridges were destroyed and roads were damaged in three-hundred ninety locations. Prefecturewide, damage exceeded 15.09 billion yen, including 11.69 billion yen in infrastructure damage, 2.146 billion yen in damage to agricultural facilities, and 670 million yen in crop damage.[33] The town hall on Yusa Town, the roof of the town hall was destroyed. Four structures in Sakata City lot their roof. In Tsuruoka City, eight houses lost their roofs, which resulted in thirty-six homeless.[34] A 72-year old drowned in the sewers of nearby Shiogama. Thirteen flights in and out of Sendai on September 20 were cancelled. A total of 40% of schools were closed due to lightning in the city. One hundred ten phone lines were also downed that would not be fixed until October 22. Throughout Miyagi prefecture, one person perished, two others were wounded,[18] roads were damaged in 102 places, 1,139 homes were destroyed,[35] and over 3,000 houses were damaged. Monetary damage in the prefecture totaled $150 billion yen.[18] Elsewhere, in Fukushima Prefecture, 1,300 people lost power due to strong winds, and damage to crops totaled $143 million yen.[36] Damage in Niigata Prefecture amounted to $643 million yen and 29 flights were cancelled to and from the prefecture.[37] Seven homes were damaged in Ishikawa Prefecture.[38]

Costliest Japan typhoons
Cost refers to total estimated property damage.
Typhoon Season Damages Damages, equiv.
to US$ in 2016
Mireille 1990 $4.2 billion $7.7 billion
Bess 1982 $2.3 billion $5.71 billion
Yancy 1993 $1.6 billion $2.65 billion
Bart 1999 $1.6 billion $2.3 billion
Songda 2004 $1.1 billion $1.39 billion
Thad 1981 $1 billion $2.63 billion
Flo 1990 $1 billion $1.83 billion
Fran 1976 $700 million $2.95 billion
Judy 1982 $500 million $1.24 billion
Irma 1985 $500 million $1.11 billion

Along the west coast of central Japan, in Toyama prefecture, heavy rains caused one-hundred seven landslides while rough seas damage nine ships. There, 49 homes were damaged and two others were destroyed. Four bridges were damaged and one was destroyed. Two people were killed and damage totaled 575 million yen.[39] Almost 40% of all crops in the prefecture were destroyed.[40] In Otani, 44 people were evacuated after a hotel collapsed. Across Nagano Prefecture, six homes were damaged.[41] The typhoon spawned a tornado near Utsunomiya, which destroyed 30 houses, and damaged 182 other buildings. Damage from the tornado was assessed at 1.5 billion yen Most of Tochigi Prefecture received heavy rains, which caused damage to 30 homes, 70 embankments, and two bridges. Roads were damaged in 52 spots. Twenty-four people were hurt and 1,311 people were homeless. Damage across the prefecture was estimated at 2.53 billion yen.[42] Offshore Fukui Prefecture, 69 ships sunk. Onshore, six houses were damaged and there were thirteen landslides. Damage in the prefecture totaled 460 million yen.[43] Strong winds damaged 17 structures in Gunma Prefecture and crop damage there amounted to 968 million yen.[44] Additionally, 20 homes were flooded and 3,000 households lost power along coastal areas of Saitama Prefecture.[45] Two people were wounded in Ibaraki Prefecture.[46] In Gifu Prefecture, one person died and another was injured. A total of 343 homes were destroyed and 1,690 others were damaged, which led to 1,237 homeless. There were 247 landslides, seventeen bridges were damaged, and roads were damaged in 430 places.[28] In Aichi Prefecture, 17 people were injured. Three hundred ninety-two homes were damaged and two others were destroyed. A total of 3,000 trees and 7,000 of streets signs were downed. Damage throughout the prefecture totaled 1.04 billion yen.[47] In Yamanashi Prefecture, one person was hurt and 110 homes were damaged or destroyed, which resulted in 419 people homeless. Thirty-one trains were suspend. Damage there amounted to 1.95 billion yen.[48] Two people were injured in Chiba Prefecture, where 648 ha (1,600 acres) of crops were damaged.[20] Across Mie Prefecture, a combination of high winds and torrential rains damaged 392 homes and destroyed 66 others, which resulted in 760 people displaced from their home. Eight bridges were damaged and there were 166 landslides. Offshore, 16 vessels were damaged. Fifteen people were hurt and damage totaled 22.8 billion yen.[49] Three people were wounded and a hundred one homes were damaged in Shizuoka Prefecture.[50] Damage in Ōshima Subprefecture totaled 46.3 billion yen. On the Yamanashi Prefecture, damage totaled 1.87 billion yen.[51] However, damage in the surrounding Tokyo area was minimal,[22] and one person was injured,[52] though 100,000 passengers were stranded after train service was disrupted.[53] In Kanagawa Prefecture, one person was wounded and fifteen houses were damaged.[54]

Along the southwestern portion of the island, in Tottori Prefecture, one person perished due to the typhoon. A total of 551 homes were damaged and 213 others were demolished. Nearly 3,000 ha (7,415 acres) of farmland were damaged. Total damage was estimated at 4.9 billion yen.[55] The inner core of the typhoon passed over Kyoto Prefecture and lashed the region with high winds for several hours. A total of 52 homes were destroyed while 544 homes were damaged. Offshore, 20 ships were damaged. Prefecturewide, there were 120 landslides and four individuals were injured. Damage was assessed at 7.24 billion yen.[56] Elsewhere, one person was killed and another was wounded in Shiga Prefecture. There, 927 homes were damaged and 118 were destroyed. Communication was downed at 870 locations and there were 82 landslides. Damage across the prefecture amounted to 5.5 billion yen.[57] A total of 12,800 customers lost power and damage amounted to $1.06 billion yen in Hiroshima Prefecture.[58] Starting on September 17, the typhoon deluged Okayama prefecture with heavy rains that caused 72 landslides. Thirty-three roads and twelve bridges were damaged. Ten people died in the prefecture, including eight from landslides, one drowned in a river, and another died due to strong winds, while nine others suffered injuries. A total of 2,810 homes were leveled, and 4,675 homes were damaged.[59] Roughly 25,000 homes were flooded.[60] Prefectruwide, damage totaled 15.9 billion yen; Flo was the worst tropical cyclone to affect the area since Typhoon Kathy in 1964.[61] In Hyogo Prefecture, two fatalities, as well as one injury, were reported. In addition, 9,069 homes were damaged while 1,644 other homes were flattened, leaving 2,585 homeless.[62] On the southern tip of Honushu, in Wakayama prefecture, four people were hurt while the destruction of 124 dwellings left 451 individuals homeless and 124 other dwellings were also damaged. In Shingū, 16 homes were destroyed.[63] In Nara Prefecture, 105 homes were damaged an 46 houses were destroyed while 4,300 residencies lost power.[64]

Costliest Known Pacific typhoons
Storm Season Cost, equivalent
to US$ in 2016
Mireille 1991 $17.6 billion
Songda 2004 $11.4 billion
Fitow 2013 $10.7 billion
Prapiroon 2000 $8.36 billion
Herb 1996 $7.64 billion
Flo 1990 $7.33 billion
Rammasun 2014 $7.21 billion
Morakot 2009 $6.92 billion
Maemi 2003 $6.25 billion
Rusa 2002 $5.59 billion

Typhoon Flo brought strong waves and high winds to Kyushu Island. In Nagasaki prefecture, one person was injured. All flights to and from Nagasaki Airport on September 18 and September 19 were cancelled.[65] A total of 1,500 ha (3,700 acres) of crops was destroyed in Oita Prefecture.[66] To the southwest, 13 people were killed[67] 11 due to landslides,[68] while 29 others were wounded in the Amami Islands. A total of 917 homes were damaged and an additional 446 homes were destroyed, resulting in 2,327 homeless. Over 50,000 homes lost power. Damage in the prefecture totaled roughly 8 billion yen.[67] In the city of Gokase, two people perished and another was hurt. A total of 40 flights, or 77% of all flights in Miyazaki Prefecture, were cancelled. Throughout Miyazaki Prefecture, 153 homes were damaged and 25 were destroyed, which resulted in 203 homeless. Nearly 19,000 residencies lost power.[69] Four people died in Ehime Prefecture and damage amounted to 6.72 billion yen.[70]

On the northeastern side of Shikoku Island, in Kagawa Prefecture, two people were killed, one at sea and one elementary school student in Tonoshō that was crushed by a falling building, and an two were wounded, 1,748 homes were damaged, and another 116 homes were destroyed. Damage there was estimated at 18.9 billion yen.[71] Damage in Kochi Prefecture amounted to 4.82 billion yen.[72] On the eastern portion of Shikoku Island, in Tokushima Prefecture, one person fell and died, another was wounded, 852 homes were damaged, and 60 others were destroyed.[73] Across Okinawa, the outer rainbadns of the system was responsible for heavy rains.[59] Four people were killed, including a 78-year-old women, and three others were rendered missing in the Okinawa island group.[53] Four people were hurt.[59] Authorities there closed schools and cancelled 57 flights, which left about 16,000 tourists stranded.[74] Offshore, six vessels were damaged, five of which sunk.[59] In Naha, the capital of Okinawa, strong winds destroyed neon signs, tore away store-front shutters, and tossed bicycles across streets.[75]

Nationwide, 40 fatalities were reported and 131 others sustained injuries. A total 16,541 houses were destroyed while 18,183 others were flooded.[23] Additionally, 413 ships and 10,365 acres (4,195 ha) of farmland were damaged.[23] The typhoon flooded or cut roads at 418 locations and railroads at 31 spots.[76][68] A total of 62 flights were cancelled.[68] Monetary damage totaled 132 billion yen or $918 million USD.[23][nb 3][nb 4]

Following the storm, many of the victims were evacuated to shelter in schools.[52]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Japan Meteorological Agency is the official Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for the western Pacific Ocean.[4]
  2. ^ Wind estimates from the JMA and most other basins throughout the world are sustained over 10 minutes, while estimates from the United States-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center are sustained over 1 minute. 10‑minute winds are about 1.14 times the amount of 1‑minute winds.[6]
  3. ^ All currencies are converted from Japanese yen to United States Dollars using this with an exchange rate of the year 1990.
  4. ^ All damage totals are in 1990 values of their respective currencies.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]