Typhoon Vera is the deadliest storm to hit Japan — 1.5 million left homeless

·2 min read
Typhoon Vera is the deadliest storm to hit Japan — 1.5 million left homeless
Typhoon Vera is the deadliest storm to hit Japan — 1.5 million left homeless

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.

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Typhoon Vera is the strongest and deadliest storm to hit Japan. Vera, also known as Isewan Typhoon, formed on Sept. 20, 1959, and dissipated on Sept. 29, 1959. The powerful storm (modern-day Category 5) devastated areas of Japan, inflicting the island with wind speeds as high as 305 km/h. Vera caused over 5,000 deaths and US$261 million (1959) in damages.

Vera started between Guam and Chuuk State, reaching tropical storm strength by Sept. 21. The storm started to rapidly intensify and reached peak intensity on Sept. 23. Vera basically maintained its strength as it made landfall on Sept. 26 near Shionomisaki on Honshu.

1280px-Typhoon Vera 1959 CBC Location
1280px-Typhoon Vera 1959 CBC Location

"A CBC camera crew in a suburb of Nagoya in the wake of Typhoon Vera." Courtesy of Wikipedia

The storm moved into the Sea of Japan and curved back to make landfall for the second time on Honshu. On Sept. 27, Vera weakened into an extratropical cyclone, with remnants lasting for two additional days.

Before Vera's landfall, forecasters saw the storm coming. Unfortunately, the Japanese media didn't provide enough coverage of the impending storm, so residents didn't have the chance to prepare or evacuate.

1280px-Seawall damage Typhoon Vera 1959
1280px-Seawall damage Typhoon Vera 1959

"Damage to a seawall caused by Typhoon Vera." Courtesy of Wikipedia

Vera brought extreme rainfall, which flooded the river basins. The storm surge destroyed defence systems, causing widespread flooding.

Immediately following Vera, the Japanese government started a disaster headquarters in Tokyo and established the Central Japan Disaster Relief Department in Nagoya. The Japanese parliament introduced a supplementary national budget to help cover Vera's damages. Starting Sept. 27, shelters were opened to support refugees.

Helicopters evacuate people after Typhoon Vera Japan 1959
Helicopters evacuate people after Typhoon Vera Japan 1959

"An American HSS-1 helicopter and Japanese Model 44A helicopter evacuating affected civilians." Courtesy of Wikipedia

In addition to the approximate 5,000 deaths, Vera also injured 39,000 people and caused around 1.5 million people to become homeless.

To learn more about Typhoon Vera, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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