Japan’s “guerrilla rain” launches a summer squall sneak attack.

On Sunday evening, a massive towering thundercloud appeared north of downtown Tokyo, tossing thunderbolts down towards the cities below. By Monday morning, though, the skies around the capital were clear once again.

But the intense heat and humidity of summer in Japan means the weather can quickly shift, and by Monday night a storm once again gathered over Tokyo. Lightning strikes left nearly 8,000 buildings in the city without power for part of the night, and trains along the Keio lines, which run west of the city center, were stopped for over an hour.

And then there was the rain. Some parts of Tokyo experienced seven centimeters (2.8 inches) of precipitation in just one hour, and a section of the Asagaya neighborhood had so much water dumped on it that it temporarily flooded.

A friend of the site was dining in an Asagaya restaurant during the storm, and finished his meal at around 7:30. But when he came down the stairs from the second-floor eatery, he saw that its street-level sign had been washed away by the swiftly moving current which had turned the road into a waterway.

While Tokyo is a coastal city, Asagaya isn’t anywhere near the shoreline, nor are there any rivers or lakes in the area.

▼ Marker showing Asagaya

Thankfully no injuries or major infrastructure damage was reported, and the waters receded after about 10 scary minutes. Still, this is a reminder that as urban as Tokyo is, Japan’s sudden “guerilla rains,” as the country calls its powerful squalls, can strike without warning, so it’s always best to be mindful of your surroundings whenever you’re out and about.

Reference: Nihon Keizai Shimbun
Map image: Google
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