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Power of nature

19 Comments

Residents walk next to fallen power poles damaged by a tornado in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, on Monday. Houses were ripped open, cars overturned and several people were hospitalised after a tornado ripped through Koshigaya and Noda. Thousands of homes were left without power.

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I've always wondered why on earth they don't put the cables underground.

With so many earthquakes and typhoons, wouldn't it be safer?

The electric poles make driving in narrow streets dangerous and make any street ugly.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@BeriteWooster - The short answer is money. It is not cheap to tear up kilometers of streets, lay the cables and then run the cables to residences. It can be done but it is usually a targeted process.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Because the biggest problem is money for urban and rural areas. Ministry of land, infrastructure and transportation has thought about it in the past. As to rural areas, they have never thought about it. Maybe loads are very winding and short, so it all cost more than they thought.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

when the lines are in the air = they are visible. When they are underground = who knows? In a disaster which is better (can an earthquake snap/rip a line).

Even with no power people should not be walking by this stuff when damaged.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Also the lines are quicker and cheaper fixed above ground. Said that my city has moved them below ground in some streets.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I've always wondered why on earth they don't put the cables underground.

Some towns have been changed that way, the difference is night and day, First time I saw it here when driving through a town with no overhead cables it was strange, I knew something was different, took a minute or two to realize what it was. There were plans to bury more cables I heard, but Japan has no money, so third world scenery stays.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

For national and prefectural roads in Japan, Tokyo's 23 wards has 41% (underground cables) but the national average falls behind with only 15%.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@BertieWooster because of the concrete pole lobby.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It should be noted that the damage shown in this picture is more common than you think. The issue is that the flatlands of Saitama, Gunma and Tochigi Prefectures have the potential for a clash of a cold front from Siberia and a warm front from the Pacific Ocean almost like a clash of a cold front from Canada and a warm front from the Gulf of Mexico east of the Rocky Mountains in the USA. But because the flatland areas are so much smaller, the tornadoes that touch down are usually at best F1 on the Fujita scale and don't last that long.

3 ( +3 / -1 )

Hearing a tornado siren means having 30 seconds to find a place that will keep you alive. Too many think, "let's try to see it!" For anyone who actually does have a safety kit, shoes should be included. I do know what an F5 can do. Glad no one died.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's amazing so many people took out their phones to record this tornado just as it came towards them. If it was a bigger one, they will not be alive to tell the story!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even with no power people should not be walking by this stuff when damaged.

very true. I took an Electrical safety class once and I assume that here in Japan the lines de-energize once the pole goes down. If not, those people in the photo would be dead. Live wires on the ground will conduct electricity and can still kill. There was a case back in LA about a year ago where a drunk driver crashed his car into a power pole, and the pole fell down, one person got out of their car to offer assistance and was shocked by the live wires.

Plus being that close to a downed pole, you don't know what kind of strain the lines are putting on the other poles and the damage they may have received. Best thing is to stay clear.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You really need to understand the difference between a funnel cloud and a tornado

A funnel cloud is a funnel-shaped cloud of condensed water droplets, associated with a rotating column of wind and extending from the base of a cloud (usually a cumulonimbus or towering cumulus cloud) but not reaching the ground or a water surface. A funnel cloud is usually visible as a cone-shaped or needle like protuberance from the main cloud base. Funnel clouds form most frequently in association with supercell thunderstorms.

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as twisters or cyclones,[1] although the word cyclone is used in meteorology, in a wider sense, to name any closed low pressure circulation. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but they are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (177 km/h), are about 250 feet (76 m) across, and travel a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour (483 km/h), stretch more than two miles (3.2 km) across, and stay on the ground for dozens of miles (more than 100 km).

Yesterday's even wasn't a tornado. If anything it was a funnel cloud.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Kitsap Yeah, yeah, whatever...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Bertie Wooster: It's not that electric cables lying underground are completely safe. I know a case when during a construction of a metal fence a pole accidentally pierced the cable underground, and after a while local people called fire-fighters because the fence was sparkling. One fire-fighter thought of a dangerous way to check if the fence was electrified - he decided to touch the gate. Unfortunately he was electrocuted and eventually died.

Also, when it comes to earthquakes I think that it is possible for the cable to break underground, and such a situation would make it harder to fix.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One of the demerits of using underground cables is that you need to install at regular intervals those ground transformers (padmount transformer)) and they are huge!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The wood poles are the most cost-effective material. In terms of both initial line costs and overall life cycle costs, wood pole lines are significantly more cost effective than alternative materials. Significant portion of lower voltage transmission lines are and continue to be built with wood. Available supply, cost, and ease of handling and installation are all factors in this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Problem is not how where to put the cables. Problem is that nature of tornado is disclosed more than 10 years ago. And now is possible exactly well predict strike tornado. Even more, possible to suppression tornado. But human society organized so stupid, that impossible simply to publish (!) according the rules established by scientific circles. After 10 years of trying hard author got invitation to proper science conference. Real russian scientist rarely have good financial possibilities. Therefore he lost 3 annual conference. May be 3 or 10 years could be enough to be ready to todays strike tornado on Japan? Let us help russian scientist to publish outstanding discovery for common benefit! Donate for business trip to AMS annual meeting in Atlanta to make sensational report on nature of tornado! And about new true meteorology at all. Thank you. Yury Kurakin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

very true. I took an Electrical safety class once and I assume that here in Japan the lines de-energize once the pole goes down. If not, those people in the photo would be dead. Live wires on the ground will conduct electricity and can still kill. There was a case back in LA about a year ago where a drunk driver crashed his car into a power pole, and the pole fell down, one person got out of their car to offer assistance and was shocked by the live wires.

You honestly cannot tell. Capacitors and inductors (transformers) hold power and if the circuit is cut they may or may not discharge. Factories with lots of machinery (electric motors/inductors) use capacitor banks to even out the Power Factor (AC power).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_factor

If you stay in your car you are insulated from ground with the rubber tires (could be safest place = faraday cage). Drive far away if you can and i would touch the car against a metal structure to possibly discharge it before you exit (yourself being now the path to ground = car could be charged).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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