Neoguri Update 16Z 7 July; Fukushima impacts

The latest track and forecast guidance is more tightly clustered as a direct hit on the Island of Kyushu, with the storm continuing up the center of Honshu before exiting the islands:

The impact estimates using the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast are still the most enthusiastic, at $24 Billion in this run.  Areas along the Inland Sea could see storm surges of over 3 meters.  Will publish a detailed surge map when the storm gets closer.  Here’s the wind swath based on the JTWC forecast:

The HWRF model, by contrast, crashes the storm intensity to minimal hurricane/tropical storm status, with damage of “only” $2.7 Billion USD.  The impact estimate based on the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) track, is also much lower than the JTWC track, in the $1-$2 Billion USD range.

So what about the Fukushima site?  If the JTWC track and intensity forecast are correct, the site should experience mainly offshore winds, so storm surge flooding is not a problem.  Sustained winds are likely to at 55mph/88kph, with gusts to 70mph/112kph possible.  The biggest issue is likely to be rain.  While the storm will be picking up speed as it moves north, our latest run showed about 15cm (6″) along the coast.  That’s not great for a site that already has water management problems.

I’ve already seen some apocalyptic claims what Neoguri might do to Fukushima, including carrying radiation to the west coast of the US.  That’s 99% “garbage”, to be polite.  Sure, some radioactive particles will be swept along with the storm.  But just because something is detectible doesn’t mean it’s a problem.  If there is increased spillage, even some compromised containers, it will more than likely be a local problem, or a regional (eg Japan) problem at the worst, and even that is more of a chronic problem such as increases in the rate of long term cancers or birth defects.  Tragic as that is, talk of a global catastrophe or acute affects is just scare mongering.

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