The animation above of Typhoon Wipha charging up the coast of Japan visualizes the storm in a different way from typical weather satellite images. It shows total precipitable water — a measure of the total amount of water vapor extending from the ocean surface to the top of the atmosphere.
The largest amounts of precipitable water are shown in the deepest reddish-orange tones.
As the animation suggests, Wipha pulled prodigious amounts of water up from the tropics. Large amounts of it rained out over Japan. In fact, in just 24 hours an absolutely astounding 33.5 inches of rain fell on the island of Izu Oshima south of Tokyo, according to the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (source of the animation above).
The result was deadly landslides that buried houses, as seen in this Twitpic:
PHOTO: Houses on Oshima island, south of Tokyo, are seen buried by landslides after Typhoon Wipha grazes Japan pic.twitter.com/zXOVuFs5PW
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) October 16, 2013
At least 50 people are unaccounted for on the island, according to the BBC. And so far, 17 deaths in Japan are attributed to the storm.