Sunday, May 6, 2012

Strong Tornado Strikes Tsukuba Japan, Northeast of Tokyo

A tornado struck Tsukuba City, Japan, about 35 miles Northeast of Tokyo on Sunday afternoon (Japan time). Unfortunately, a 14 year old boy was killed and numerous others were injured.  The above photo of the tornado was taken by an unknown person and published by the Associated Press.

A couple of videos of the tornado are surfacing on YouTube, and show that the tornado was quite large at one point, with debris visible:

Damage is widespread, and over 20,000 people are reportedly without power in the city.  According to the fire department, 50 or more homes were completely destroyed by the tornado and over 300 more were heavily damaged.  There was also extensive damage done to businesses and apartment buildings.  The tornado struck at about 12:45 PM Japan time.

Several striking damage photos are emerging on twitter and other social media at this time:

Photo courtesy AFP

Photo via twitter @otokotoonna 

Photo via twitter @otokotoonna

Photo via twitter @otokotoonna

Photo via twitter @otokotoonna

Photo via twitter @otokotoonna

Tornadoes are most frequent in Japan in association with typhoons during the summer and fall.  This tornado was not tropically-induced and appears to have been quite strong.  Fortunately it appears to have taken place in a fairly rural area.  Had this tornado touched down just 35 miles to the Southwest it would have impacted the heavily populated mega city of Tokyo.

According to a tabulation posted on Wikipedia, the last time that a tornado directly struck Tokyo was on May 24, 1964.

I'll post additional information on today's event as it becomes available...

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