Vongfong sends heavy tropical downpours across southern Japan

Maura Kelly

After forging a path of destruction across the Philippines late last week, Tropical Rainstorm Vongfong brought impacts to southern Japan through the early week.

Vongfong, known as Ambo in the Philippines, quickly strengthened into a typhoon late last week before lashing the Philippines with heavy rain and damaging winds.

At least four deaths have been blamed on the storm, according to a report from ABS-CBN from Saturday.

After tracking over the Luzon province and moving over cool water to the north of the Philippines and east of Taiwan, Vongfong transitioned into a tropical rainstorm on Sunday.

Following a northeasterly track, Vongfong raced away from Taiwan on Monday and tracked across the Ryukyu Islands of Japan before approaching the southern coast of Japan.

The rainstorm remained just offshore as it follows an easterly path into Tuesday, spreading heavy rain and gusty winds from Kyushu to Kanto. Some downpours reached as far north as the eastern coast of Tohoku into Tuesday morning.

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The speed of the storm helped to limit rainfall across this area, but totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) were common across southern Japan, including in Osaka and Tokyo.

This amount of rain increased the risk of flash flooding in low-lying and poor drainage areas as well as mudslides in rugged terrain.

Winds remained gusty with this storm; however, the strongest winds remained offshore and had little impact on southern Japan.

Vongfong strengthened over the warm waters of the Philippines Sea and became the first-named tropical system in the Northern Pacific Ocean of 2020.

On Thursday afternoon, Vongfong was a typhoon with wind speeds around 155 km/h (96 mph), making it equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic and East Pacific basins.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Ambo made its first landfall over San Policarpo, in the province of Eastern Samar, at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, local time.

After barreling through Eastern Samar, the typhoon made five additional landfall across islands in the northern Philippines.

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