Japan is bracing for Typhoon Wipha’s landfall on Wednesday, a storm that could be the strongest in a decade to hit Tokyo, and one that has the potential to bring flooding to the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
A spokesperson for the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said Wipha, the 26th named tropical cyclone of 2013, “may be a once-in-a-decade event.”
Heavy rains and damaging winds that could lead to power outages are expected along the country’s east coast. The storm was weakening across the Pacific, but was still bringing winds gusts of up to 120 mph.
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The center of the storm could be close to Tokyo, and “If its center passes just west of Tokyo, a large storm surge would affect the city of more than 35 million people and potentially bring major flooding,” the Washington Post reports.
Reuters reports that Wipha “is expected to sweep through northern Japan after making landfall and to pass near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, on the coast 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, later on Wednesday.”
Meteorologist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground warns that
The heavy rainwater risk to Fukushima is echoed by meteorologist Eric Holthaus, who writes:
Workers at the Fukushima plant have taken extra measures in preparation for the coming typhoon, according to plant operator TEPCO, getting new storage tanks ready for rising water levels and to prevent leakage of stored radioactive water.
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