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A Bit More Rain in Kyoto Than Normal
running high Courtesy Typhoon #18 Kamo River from the Ooike Bridge 鴨川、大池大橋から(京都市) -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/7.1, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
running high
Courtesy Typhoon #18
Kamo River from the Ooike Bridge
鴨川、大池大橋から(京都市)

Typhoon #18 for 2013 rolled by this morning, bringing lots of rain and the once-every year-or-so high water in the Kamo River. This post is essentially a repeat of the high-water posts from 2010 and last year, except this time there was significant flooding elsewhere in Kyoto.

If I'd had my iPhone with me while sleeping, I would have been awoken at 5am by the emergency alerts from Kyoto Prefecture and Kyoto City, warning of heavy rain. I'd never seen one of these before.

When growing up in Ohio, the National Weather Service would issues different level alerts for tornados and storms: first a low-level watch, then if the danger became immediate, a warning. Warnings were rare.

Japan had the same two levels of warnings until a third, higher-than-immediate danger level was added this summer:「特別警報」(Special Warning). This would be reserved for calamities — rain, wind, snow, tsunami, volcanic ash, etc. — that might happen once in a generation.

The first ever such alert was issued this morning, for all of Kyoto Prefecture, as seen at right.

What particularly caught my eye (when I noticed this on my phone five hours later) was the almost conversational sentence: It's possible you've never experienced heavy rain like this in your life.

Having grown up in Ohio, I like a good storm; I'm bummed I missed it. Now I know what all the sirens I vaguely heard through my sleep were.

Here's what the rain radar looked like at the time of the alert.


The small black square to the lower-right of center is where I live.
午前5時15分のレーダー。
中心右下黒点は私の家(京都市左京区岡崎)

Frankly, the radar looked much worse (much more red) a couple of weeks ago when the last typhoon came near, but for whatever reason the high water and flooding never materialized then.

Anyway, it takes the water a couple of hours after the heaviest rain to accumulate from the mountains to the river near me, but I didn't pop out to take a look until five hours later, so the water had already receded considerably.....

Debris -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 95mm — 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Debris

You can see all the debris that had accumulated against the stone fence toward the right, showing how high the water had been.

The bridge in the background is the Sanjo Bridge. To illustrate what the river looks like normally, this next photo, from Terrace Dining Over Kyoto's Kamo River, shows the same scene a couple of years ago from the opposite direction, from that bridge looking toward where I am now.

Normal Situation 普通の状況(11年の夏の撮影) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/400 sec, f/11, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Normal Situation
普通の状況(11年の夏の撮影)

To further illustrate, here's a shot from even further down, looking back at both bridges, from Skipping Rocks with Kenny back in 2011....

Relatively Low Water 三条大橋、浅い水位(11年の冬の撮影) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Relatively Low Water
三条大橋、浅い水位(11年の冬の撮影)

Back to today...

Sanjo Bridge 三条大橋(今日の撮影) -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 78mm — 0.3 sec, f/25, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Sanjo Bridge
三条大橋(今日の撮影)

Having recently posted The Effect of Shutter Speed on the Appearance of Flowing Water, I tried a few shots at different speeds to create a sense of flow, but in this case the angriness of the water seems more pertinent than smooth flow, so it turns out that a relatively short 1/13th second shot seems most appropriate:

♪ ♫ ♪ Under the Boardwalk... ♪ ♪ ♫ -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 240mm — 1/13 sec, f/13, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
♪ Under the Boardwalk... ♪

As a result of the typhoon, the bullet train line was shut down, as were most of the expressways in this part of the country. Today was the last of a three-day weekend, so everyone who was going to be traveling on the highways got diverted into the city and follow their car navigation systems looking for a way west out of the city, and there are only two: Route 1 and Sanjo Street, and the latter, at least, was a parking lot:

Sanjo Street ample parking 三条通りは駐車場に成りました -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 290mm — 1/640 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Sanjo Street
ample parking
三条通りは駐車場に成りました

When I decided to take a pop out to the river with the camera this morning, I knew things were a bigger deal than I'd first thought when I came out of the garage and saw the traffic on my street. Normally it's pretty quiet, but due to its particular circumstances, it quickly becomes a parking lot itself when the expressways are shut down. Today was the second time I'd seen this in ten years.

Luckily I travel by scooter, so traffic was not an issue. :-)

Looking South from the Sanjo-Street Bridge 三条大橋から南へ -- Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/25 sec, f/22, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking South from the Sanjo-Street Bridge
三条大橋から南へ
Casualty 割れた橋の柵 -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/100 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Casualty
割れた橋の柵

The stone fence here did not fare as well as the one seen in Debris above, buckling under the weight of the flow. The inscription on the fence says 1994.

Not Quite Worth the advertised “ 1,000 words ” -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Quite Worth
the advertised 1,000 words

I don't know that this is much better, but here's a short video I shot at the same time. Warning: sound of rushing water is loud.

Slim Pickings or gorgeous feast. I'd guess the former, but I don't know. -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 170mm — 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Slim Pickings
or gorgeous feast. I'd guess the former, but I don't know.
Stump -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 170mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Stump
Smile -- Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 140mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Smile
Worthless -- Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 240mm — 1/500 sec, f/6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Worthless

The cameras in the center of the shot above, above Book Off on the north-west corner of Sanjo Kawabata, are for the Kyoto Prefectural water-management system. You can (normally) see a recent shot of the river on their site, such as these:


a couple of days ago
二日前

this afternoon
今日午後

Unfortunately, the this afternoon shot, from when the water had receded quite a bit, was the only image I could get since 9pm last night. When there's lots of rain, the Kyoto Prefectural water-management web site becomes utterly inaccessible. I don't know what my tax yen is going toward.... it's like having insurance except when you're in an accident.

Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 95mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 95mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
More Traffic -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 170mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
More Traffic

Even the little river by my place, whose level is normally well controlled because it's an offshoot from a canal, was running a bit high and was a completely-opaque brown:

Shirakawa River 白川、京都市左京区岡崎 -- Kamo River (鴨川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Shirakawa River
白川、京都市左京区岡崎

But none of this was flooding, but other parts of Kyoto certainly saw flooding for the first time in many years. Here's a video showing the famous Togetsukyo bridge (渡月橋) in Arashiyama this morning.

The water was lapping over the bridge. For reference, here's a shot from A Few More Shots of That Amazing Rainbow showing what the incredibly wide river basin looks like normally...

嵐山の渡月橋、去年の12月 -- Arashiyama (嵐山) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
嵐山の渡月橋、去年の12月

Comments so far....

I was woken up at around 6AM on the other side of the mountain by you by the insane winds and rain.

I hate using the word “literally” with figurative language, but the rain was literally falling in 90 degree horizontal sheets whipped by the wind. It was definitely the hardest rain/win I’d seen in this country.

I was glad Zoe stayed asleep, because she would have been really freaked out.

— comment by Zak on September 16th, 2013 at 6:43pm JST (10 months, 8 days ago) comment permalink

Wow! The Togetsukyo bridge video is impressive! Looks like Kitcho could be underwater: now that would be a dining experience ;-)

Kamogawa swelled quite a bit too, and Shirakawa looks quite unique with the color. So it rained mostly yesterday? Here in Tsukuba the typhoon hit this morning, but it wasn’t so bad.

Most of the heavy rain was from the evening through the night. Rain was done here by 10am when I was out with the camera. —Jeffrey

— comment by Damien on September 16th, 2013 at 7:32pm JST (10 months, 8 days ago) comment permalink

I was watching the Arashiyama bridge on TV half-hoping it would get washed away.

(Does that make me a bad person?)

— comment by Zak on September 17th, 2013 at 6:35pm JST (10 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink

Over the weekend we had multiple high water tide warnings because of the 2 hurricanes hitting Mexico. The water was about 2 inches over my dock. We have gotten more rain in the past 10 days then in the last 2 years. I would be ecstatic about this but I rented the Canon 300 f2.8 to capture the hummingbird migration. Had to send it back today and i was only able to get 5 decent shots in 6 days.
For all of the bird photographers out there Rockport Tx gets more birds than Bosque del Apache, And less people. We have 3 big “bird seasons” late August Through September and late spring For hummingbirds and, late fall/winter for all kinds of birds including whooping cranes.

— comment by ed pouso on September 18th, 2013 at 9:06am JST (10 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink

> Zak: you’re not alone, I don’t like that bridge either. They should build a more traditional/typical one IMHO. Or at least hide the concrete.

— comment by Damien on September 18th, 2013 at 10:51pm JST (10 months, 6 days ago) comment permalink

This reminds of Calgary earlier this year, not fun … I hope the tsunami season won’t be too bad. By the way, I enjoy looking at the many photos on your blog. I stumbled on your blog through my interest in 尺八。 ありがとう ございました。

— comment by Martial Simard on September 19th, 2013 at 3:38am JST (10 months, 6 days ago) comment permalink

Damien, I don’t have any particular negative opinion of that bridge, I just like seeing stuff destroyed by nature.

Yes, upon reflection, I am definitely a bad person.

— comment by Zak on September 22nd, 2013 at 11:34am JST (10 months, 3 days ago) comment permalink
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