Who the Fuck is Gustav?

Well, judging from the facebook status updates of many of my friends in New Orleans, he’s the next hurricane, and he’s making his way through the Caribbean. He just hit Haiti and is heading for Cuba. After that he might strengthen over the Gulf and roll into New Orleans or some other Gulf coast city. It’s always a gamble.

Typhoon (台風, たいふう), the Japanese cousin of the hurricane, have a boring naming convention. They get numbers followed by 号, which I have written about previously. So you have 1号, 2号, 3号, etc. As in America, they’re really only dangerous to areas in the south like Okinawa and Kyushu, as they take the brunt of the force. Once they make it to the Kansai or Kanto area, it’s mostly just heavy rain, especially for inland areas. Even down south, a lot of the damage seems to come from the rain and subsequent landslides rather than from wind.

I’m not exactly sure when Typhoon season is, but wikipedia lists twelve so far starting from April. Actually, the English translation of that site says the season has no bounds but that most typhoon occur between May and November. I always think of it as a September thing.

You can follow all weather information as well as earthquake information at the 気象庁 (きしょうちょう, Japanese Meteorological Agency) website. Their earthquake updates are impressive; they post the information about 10 to 15 minutes after an earthquake, so it’s always the first page I check when we have one. You can also tab back through all their earthquake records for the day and see exactly how shifty the plates are over here.