As of this writing Typhoon 19 is just about right on top of Okinawa. Classified as a “Super Typhoon” by NASA it is far greater in size and power than last week’s storm. The typhoon also goes by the name Vongfong, which we assume is Chinese for “killjoy” because of its incredibly bad timing.

If Typhoon 19 veers East and moves across most of Japan, it will do so right over the long weekend. With all the destruction and at very least wet nuisances brought by typhoons, the one sliver of light had always been that they often brought days off work and school with them too. Not this weekend, however, and many wait to see whether the weather will dash their holiday plans or not.

Luckily there is a plethora of online weather services for us to watch Typhoon 19 in near-real-time that are all both very informative and gorgeous enough to make you want to refer to them even after the storm has passed.

Hourly satellite monitoring


First up is a service that allows you to watch Typhoon 19’s progress hourly right from the comfort of your web browser. In addition to the overall map you can also view reports from all over Japan such as heavy rain and strong winds in Okinawa as well as slipper securing tips from Osaka.

To use this service you will need to install the Google Earth plug-in to your browser if you haven’t already. It doesn’t take long though and is a handy service if you want a very clear view of where the typhoon is and how it’s moving.

Watch the wind on “Earth”

Although the Google Earth image is highly detailed, it’s static and doesn’t really capture the intensity of the storm. For that we have “Earth” which shows us an animated view of all the winds around the globe. We can watch both the direction and intensity of Typhoon 19 in relation to all the other winds in the world. Zooming into the eye of Vongfong gives us an uncomfortable image.

However, under better circumstances, watching the animated wind of the world is both fascinating and breathtakingly beautiful. After Typhoon 19 is said and done, this is definitely a website worth visiting again.

There is also a version of this wind animation made only for Tokyo if you happen to live there.

Have you ever seen the rain?

While it lacks the sexiness of the first two services, this map from the Japan Meteorological Agency more than makes up for it in usefulness. This map gives the updated amount of precipitation every five minutes. Not only that, but it offers a 60-minute forecast on precipitation in your area no matter where you are in Japan. It will also give you tornado and lightning information if you zoom in close enough.

This might prove to be the most valuable of resources should Typhoon 19 move across all of Japan. It can show you when pockets of lighter rain are likely to occur if you need to go out for supplies. It can also warn areas hit by heavy rain from last week’s typhoon if more is on the way. This can be a matter of life and death as back to back typhoons may run the risk of landslides or flooding in some areas.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though and keep our fingers crossed that Vongfong will just bank East extra sharply and fly back off into the Pacific leaving further inhabited areas unscathed. Either way, thanks to all this technology at our disposal, there’s no chance this massive storm will get the jump on us.

Source: NASA, Typhoon Real Time Watcher, Earth, High-Res Precipitation Nowcasting, NHK

An image of Typhoon 19 from NASA

And a particularly ominous one from MTSAT-2

[ Read in Japanese ]