How Tokyo’s Giant Tunnels Protect City From Floods

How Tokyo's Giant Tunnels Protect City From FloodsOn the outskirts of Tokyo, behind a small government building, underneath a soccer field and skateboard park, sits a remarkable feat of engineering. It’s an example of how Japan’s capital, which lies in a region at high risk from flooding and tropical cyclones, is trying to figure out how to contain the elements to protect its 13 million inhabitants.

‘Underground Parthenon’

Built between 1993 and 2006 at a cost of nearly $3 billion, the Water Discharge Tunnel is far more impressive than its name suggests. Winding down a series of stairs, you soon come upon a massive hall, resembling an underground Parthenon, or a scene out of a science fiction film.

The initial water tank stretches more than 320 feet in length and towers higher than a five-story building. When you add it all up, the complex features five massive shafts, or tanks, that are able to move water along a tunnel that stretches nearly four miles.


‘Incredible drain system’

In this area of Saitama prefecture, heavy rains would often flood the Naka River Basin. But now, that valuable farmland has an incredible drain system sitting below. When the tanks and tunnel fill, engineers are able to turn on the heart of the system, which is a series of four turbines powered by jet engines similar to those used in a Boeing 737 airplane. The turbines are then able to rapidly funnel floodwaters to the nearby Edo River.

The engineers here are the first to point out that their system, while remarkable, is meant to deal with heavy rains — and that it would struggle to cope with a Sandy-type storm surge.

Do you find Tokyo’s Water Discharge Tunnel an amazing engineering feat? Feel free to share your feedback with us!

Source: Alex Zolbert | CNN

Image: Shine Your Light

Superstorm Sandy Wreaks Havoc Across Coastal Communities

Superstorm Sandy Wreaks Havoc Across Coastal CommunitiesThough no longer a hurricane, “post-tropical” superstorm Sandy packed a hurricane-sized punch as it slammed into the Jersey Shore on Monday, killing at least 11 people from West Virginia to North Carolina and Connecticut.

‘Hunker down’

Sandy whipped torrents of water over the streets of Atlantic City, stretching for blocks inland and ripping up part of the vacation spot’s fabled boardwalk. The storm surge set records in Lower Manhattan, where flooded substations caused a widespread power outage. It swamped beachfronts on both sides of Long Island Sound and delivered hurricane-force winds from Virginia to Cape Cod as it came ashore.

The storm hit near Atlantic City about 8 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center reported. It packed 80-mph winds at landfall. The storm had already knocked down power lines and tree limbs while still 50 miles offshore. Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford told CNN there were still “too many people” who didn’t heed instructions to evacuate, and he urged anyone still in town to “hunker down and try to wait this thing out.”


‘Strongest storm to make landfall’

Sandy had already claimed at least 67 lives in the Caribbean, including 51 in Haiti. Sandy’s storm surges were boosted by a full moon, which already brings the highest tides of the month. Based on pressure readings, it’s likely to be the strongest storm to make landfall north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said. Its arrival, eight days before the U.S. presidential election, forced President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, to alter or cancel several campaign stops.

“The most important message I have for the public right now is please listen to what your state and local officials are saying,” Obama said. “When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate.” And in Ohio, Romney asked supporters to drop off items and cash at his “victory centers” to be donated to victims of the storm.

Have you ever been in the thick of a superstorm like Sandy? Share your own storm-survival tips with us!

Source: CNN

Image: The Sydney Morning Herald