(Osaka) Some damage caused by Typhoon No. 21 was avoidable.
On September 4th, Typhoon No.21 hit Osaka and caused severe damage to the western part of Japan. It is said to be the strongest typhoon that has hit Japan in 25 years. Here are some pictures and a video that show how strong it was.
According to the website of Osaka City, 88 private dwellings and 61 public buildings were damaged by this typhoon.
Many news sources in Japan reported that it was tragic because the damage was inevitable, but is that really true?
According to Kunihiko Takeda, a professor at Chubu University, some damage caused by the typhoon was avoidable. In other words, some damage was caused by human neglect.
Takeda claims that we have a nationwide wind speed reference, and it is used to decide the durability of buildings when buildings are built. (Sorry, the data is in Japanese)
The wind speeds listed in the reference are supposed to happen once in 50 years, and usually architects design buildings that are durable to wind that is 2 to 3 times stronger than the wind speed reference. In Osaka, for example, the reference wind speed is 32 – 34 meters/second (m/s), so if architects want to design a building, such as a house, a street lamp, or a sign, it should be durable to any wind that is 64 – 102 m/s. So here is the question. How strong was Typhoon No. 21?
According to tenki.jp, the wind speed in Osaka was 47.4m/s.
Yes. It is true that the value is higher than 32-34 m/s, but it is still lower than 64 m/s, which is supposed to be the minimum requirement, and far lower than 102 m/s. In other words, the fallen signs and blown off roofs that we saw on TV and the Internet should not have happened if they had met the standards. That is why Takeda claims the damage could have been less if things had been properly built.
Takeda also states that the media should not just report how terrible the typhoon was, but they should also report that the buildings were destroyed because the criterion wasn’t met.
Although I haven’t seen any big media company in Japan report this matter yet, I hope that something will appear soon. (Personally, I think it is a whole lot more important than the DUI hit and run committed by a former member of a well-known idol group.)