While the broader public's attention continues to be distracted by the circus that America's legislative and executive branches have become (an expected development at a time when the monetary branch reigns supreme), the real, non-scripted and truly devastating catastrophe continue to unfold in Japan, and specifically in Fukushima, where both TEPCO and the government have long since lost control of the worst nuclear disaster in history. However, in addition to the now usual daily spills of hundreds of tons of radioactive coolant into the environment, a potentially far more dangerous situation which may lead to an even greater loss of containment is taking place right now as both the destroyed nuclear plant and soon Tokyo are about to be buffeted by Typhoon Wipha - a "once in a decade storm."
Typhoon Wipha is moving across the Pacific straight towards the capital, Tokyo, and is expected to make landfall during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, bringing hurricane-force winds to the metropolitan area of 30 million people. The center of the storm was 860 km (535 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 0800 GMT, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its website. It was moving north-northeast at 35 kph (22 mph).
The storm had weakened as it headed north over the sea but was still packing sustained winds of about 140 kph (87 mph) with gusts as high as 194 kph (120 mph), the agency said. The agency issued warnings for Tokyo of heavy rain, flooding and gales, and advised people to be prepared to leave their homes quickly and to avoid unnecessary travel.
A spokesman for the meteorological agency said the storm was a "once in a decade event".
The typhoon is expected to sweep through northern Japan after making landfall and to pass near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, on the coast 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, later on Wednesday.
The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Corp, which has been struggling to contain radioactive leaks, said it would cancel all offshore work and it would decide whether to continue work onshore after assessing the weather.
The utility will also take down cranes and secure all cables, hoses and machinery, a company spokesman said.
Considering the absolutely abysmal work Tepco had down in "containing" Fukushima, one can probably best describe what is about to take place as a Radioactivetyphoonado.
Sadly, for the long-suffering Japanese people, for whom between Abenomics and this ongoing disaster there is little to smile about, things may be about to get much wrose.
Typhoon Wipha is the strongest storm to approach eastern Japan since October 2004. That cyclone triggered floods and landslides that killed almost 100 people, forced thousands from their homes and caused billions of dollars in damage.
Four Japanese oil refining companies said they suspended marine berth shipments in eastern Japan as the typhoon approached but there was no impact on refining operations.
The affected facilities are Idemitsu Kosan Co's Chiba and Aichi refineries, JX Holdings Inc's Negishi, Kashima and Sendai refineries, Fuji Oil Co's Sodegaura refinery and Cosmo Oil Co's Chiba refinery.
Japan Airlines Co cancelled 183 domestic flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, mostly from Tokyo's Haneda airport. Rival ANA Holdings Inc halted 210 flights in Japan with three international flights also cancelled. The combined cancellations will affect 60,850 passengers, the airlines said.
And yet, the only thing that most will want to know is what happens with Fukushima once the storm flies over it. So for them, and everyone else, we have pulled the folliwng live TEPCO webcam feed showing precisely what is going on at Fukushima (via TEPCO).