Japan Data

Gust Factor: Japan’s September Typhoons Pack a Windy Punch

Environment Disaster Economy Lifestyle

The Japanese typhoon season stretches from summer to autumn. The windiest storms tend to blow ashore in September, with gusts up to 30 meters per second, strong enough to knock a truck on its side, not uncommon.

August is the peak of typhoon season in Japan, but the windiest storms typically arrive in September. Meteorologists classify the intensity of tropical cyclones by the average maximum sustained winds over a 10-minute period. However, the tempests also bring maximum gusts, which the Japan Meteorological Agency defines as the average wind speed during a 3-second interval, that can be many times more powerful.

Japanese weather reports outline the zone around the eye of a storm with sustained winds exceeding 25 m/s to identify for the public the most powerful area of a typhoon. Even at the low end of the demarcation, winds can easily topple shop signs, send ceramic roof tiles flying, and overturn aluminum sheds. Storms become increasingly hazardous as wind speeds rise, with gales above 30 m/s having the force to uproot trees, snap utility poles, and tip trucks over, and gusts exceeding 40 m/s possessing the power to seriously damage or even destroy buildings.

Strongest Maximum Gust of a Typhoon

Location Winds m/s Date
Mount Fuji, Shizuoka 91.0 September 25, 1966
Miyako Island, Okinawa 85.3 September 5, 1966
Cape Muroto, Kōchi 84.5 September 16, 1961
Yonaguni Island, Okinawa 81.1 September 28, 2015
Naze, Kagoshima 78.9 August 13, 1970
Naha, Okinawa 73.6 September 8, 1956
Uwajima, Ehime 72.3 September 25, 1964
Ishigaki Island, Okinawa 71.0 August 23, 2015
Iriomote Island, Okinawa 69.9 September 16, 2006
Mount Tsurugi, Tokushima 69.0 August 21, 1970

Created by Nippon.com based on Japan Meteorological Agency data.

Strongest Recorded Sustained Winds

Location Winds m/s Date
Mount Fuji, Shizuoka 72.5 April 5, 1942
Cape Muroto, Kōchi 69.8 September 10, 1965
Miyako Island, Okinawa 60.8 September 5, 1966
Mount Unzen, Nagasaki 60.0 August 27, 1942
Mount Ibuki, Shiga 56.7 September 16, 1961
Mount Tsurugi, Tokushima 55.0 January 7, 2001
Yonaguni Island, Okinawa 54.6 September 28, 2015
Ishigaki Island, Okinawa 53.0 July 31, 1977
Yakushima, Kagoshima 50.2 September 24, 1964
Suttsu, Hokkaidō 49.8 April 15, 1952

Created by Nippon.com based on Japan Meteorological Agency data.

(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Utility poles and construction scaffolding blown down by Typhoon Jebi in September 2018. © Jiji.)

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