Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sendai Quake - Day 3

A massive M8.8 M9.0 quake hit off the coast of Miyagi prefecture in Japan on Friday afternoon, and several M6 aftershocks have been continuing for the last few days. I live 300 miles or so away, yet we felt an frightening M5 out here. Fortunately there was little to no damage, and my friends, coworkers and myself are safe and sound. Latest earthquake information at the Japan Meteorological Agency. Day 2 posts can be found here.

1:30 am - Alright, I need to get some sleep. I've still got food/water/clothes ready for an emergency, and will be sleeping with my shoes close by in case. I think I'll also take down my TV when I'm not at home/asleep to be safe. When I wake up in the morning I more than likely will not have power either, so I'll update from my phone. I'll be charging everything I can until morning (I even have a spare phone). Seems like I've got an interesting week ahead.

By the way, Google has put together a quite impressive Crisis Response page for this earthquake.

12:30 am - WOAH! I just saw this on TV. If you want to know how high and strong the tsunami was, here is a good indication:

That would be a large ferry on top of a two story building. Unbelievable. How in the world are they going to get that down???

11:30 pm - I've finally got some specifics on the rolling power outages. My company in Nakano, Ebina, Kangawa; and my apartment in Nakashinden, Ebina, Kanagawa are both in the same groups 1 and 5. Here's the estimated outage times -

Group 1: 6:20 – 10:00 (4:20 pm - 8 pm CST)
Group 5: 15:20 – 19:00 (1:20 am - 5 am CST)
Group 1: 16:50 – 20:30 (4:50 am - 6:30 am CST)

Each blackout period will have approximately 3 hours of power outage. G1 and G5 overlap in the evening with G1 starting an hour earlier, so perhaps I will have 4 hours w/out power in the evening. Furthermore, I'm hearing reports this will be lasting through the end of April.


Wow. Seems this is starting to hit home. As crappy as it is, I'm at least thankful for my safety more than anything. I guess I'll be playing a lot of DS for the next couple of months though!

8:45 pm - They just officially announced that they will be dividing the Kanto area into 5 different groups and implement power outages in rotation 3 hours at a time. Seems at peak times during the week there is a 4100Kw power demand, but the max capacity with the remaining power plants is 1000Kw short. Seems like this also affects Kanagawa where myself and my company are, so its highly possible I'll be affected.

6:00 pm - They just removed all the tsunami watches!! The coasts should be safe from tsunami now!!

5:50 pm - I found some amazing before and after pictures. Roll over the image to scroll between before/after.

3:40 pm - The original quake was M9.0. There have been multiple aftershocks of M7 since, several of M6, and over 150 aftershocks of M5. They're saying there is a 90% chance another M7 may hit within a week. Looking for articles to back this up.

Found a map on Wikipedia:

3:05 pm - The dead and missing count is up to 2800 now. I've heard multiple reports of hundreds of bodies being found in single areas at a time as well. I'm also hearing that as a result of several power plants being shut down, including the 2 nuclear plants in Fukushima, they may be implementing rotational power outages. During the weekend now there is less power usage, but when people return to work and businesses start up again on Monday, power usage will spike again. Anticipating a shortage, they may cut power to certain areas for 3 hours at a time. Here's a translation of the NHK article.

2:45 pm - I just found a high quality 15 min video from NHK of the main tsunami hitting Sendai, as seen from a helicopter. This is unbelievable. Warning: You can see cars that were driving get swept away by the tsunami. Terrifying.

2:20 pm - I just heard a story of a man in his 60s swept out to sea by the receding tsunami who was picked up by an Aegis cruiser out at sea. Wow.

1:30 pm - Went out for a walk and to get a few things. It's again nice to see semblance of normalcy outside after watching all this destruction on the news. The stores are still fairly gutted, lots of instant foods and batteries sold out everywhere. Otherwise the situation is pretty calm, a nice sunny day actually.

12:15 pm - The main earthquake, after being revised from an 8.9 to an 8.8 has now further revised and upgraded to a magnitude 9.0, which is 474 megatons.

11:20 am - Here's a video from inside the Sendai airport that I found yesterday and have been meaning to post. It's interesting to see views of the tsunami from the ground as it happens. The unbelievable forces of water involved are truly astonishing.

10:45 am - They've been showing this footage of the tsunami hitting Miyako in Miyagi Prefecture since yesterday evening. Notice how the water is pitch black, a result of sand, silt, and dirt from the displacement of earth on the seafloor that created the tsunami. Also, the flow of water is so powerful, one of the fishing boats gets forced under a bridge like its going trough a shredder or trash compactor.

10:30 am - Another aftershock of M4 on land hit Ibaragi and Chiba (closer to Tokyo and Kanagawa), but the only felt maybe an M2 hour here. Again, we received advance warning via TV and cellphone.

9:45 am - Good morning. We had a few aftershocks over night, with a larger M6 off the coast of Miyagi around 8 am. It's very rare for aftershocks of this magnitude to continue for this long. The news is saying it wouldn't be out of the question for a large aftershock or separate earthquake to hit the Tokyo region, partially because of the type of earthquake we had - a shallow megathrust. The Pacific tectonic plate pushes against the Eurasian plate of the coast of East Japan. As the Pacific plate pushes against the Eurasian plate, it pulls some of the Eurasian plate with it. This quake occurred when the Eurasian plate rebounded backward, displacing an immeasurable amount of water, resulting in massive tsunamis of up to 10 m along the entire east coast of Japan.

Basically something like this, except instead of coastline, this happened 50 miles out to sea, but only 25 miles or so underground. The uplift from the immense rebound is what caused the massive tsunamis which lasted for more than a day.

Yesterday perhaps you heard the news about the concrete outer housing on reactor 1 of plant 1 in Fukushima exploding. The reactor itself is fine, and we won't have anything like Chernobyl, but there are already reports of people with radiation poisoning, and hundreds more at risk. Fortunately they've reported these people don't have much risk to their health.

However, it seems similar situations are occurring to reactors 2 and 3 which they're trying to get under control. Because of the type of reactor (boiling water reactor) there fortunately are less risks involved even in the event of a meltdown.

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