The art and science of Japan's cherry blossom forecast
straitstimes.com -- Feb 13
As spring approaches in Japan, the country's weather forecasters face one of their biggest missions of the year: predicting exactly when the famed cherry blossoms will bloom.

Japan's sakura or cherry blossom season is feverishly anticipated by locals and visitors alike. Many tourists plan their entire trips around the blooms and Japanese flock to parks in the millions to enjoy the seasonal spectacle.

"People pay more attention to the cherry blossom season than any other flower in Japan," Mr Ryo Dojo, an official of the statistics unit at the Japan Meteorological Agency, told Agence France-Presse.

The most basic element of predicting when the delicate pink and white petals will begin to unfurl is a large data set of temperatures.

That is because the flowers will come earlier if temperatures rise quickly in spring, Mr Dojo said.

Conversely, if temperatures in the autumn and winter period are higher than usual, the blooms can end up being delayed.

Extreme weather can affect the trees too, with unusual patterns last year prompting some blossoms to appear in October, well before the usual season.

In general, blooms begin as early as March in southern Kyushu and appear as late as May in northernmost Hokkaido.

News source: straitstimes.com
Aug 12
The nation entered the dog days of summer Tuesday as temperatures climbed above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas, prompting authorities to issue a heatstroke warning and encourage the removal of face masks in certain situations. (Japan Times)
Aug 12
A court found a 38-year-old man guilty Tuesday for obstructing business at a central Japan town hall in April by acting like a person infected with the novel coronavirus and attempting to spread it to workers. (Kyodo)
Aug 12
A Japanese company that operates a cargo ship that ran aground off Mauritius says nearly half of the oil the vessel is believed to have leaked in the Indian Ocean has been collected. (NHK)
Aug 12
The hottest day ever in Japan was 2018 in Kumagaya, Saitama! 41.4℃ or 106.5℉ (ONLY in JAPAN)
Aug 12
Swimmer Rikako Ikee, who went public with her leukemia diagnosis in February of last year, will return to competition at a Tokyo meet to be held later this month, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed 188 new cases of COVID-19 infection Tuesday, holding below the 200 mark for a second straight day, but worries over the spread of the new coronavirus remained amid a heat wave in the middle of the Bon summer holiday period. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
Ninety-one people at a high school in Shimane Prefecture have tested positive in recent days for the novel coronavirus in a cluster outbreak centered on the boys’ soccer team, according to local authorities. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
The cumulative total of COVD-19 infections in Japan surpassed 50,000 on Monday, including about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama in February. (Japan Times)
Aug 11
Narita Airport, one of the main travel hubs for the Tokyo area, has already begun to make changes to keep travelers and workers safe in the coronavirus era. (Nikkei)
Aug 11
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 197 people were confirmed to have been infected with the new coronavirus on Monday. (NHK)