Japan, still gathering up the pieces from the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear fallout, suffered another knockout punch from Mother Nature this weekend. Typhoon Bolaven brought 161 mph wind gusts and nearly 20 inches of rain to Okinawa Sunday night.

Folks who endured Typhoon Bolaven’s wrath in Okinawa had to seek higher ground to avoid storm surges. Nearly 400,000 of the island’s inhabitants live less than 160 feet above sea level. Experts said the typhoon had a cloud field of 1,250 miles, which is 20 times larger than Okinawa’s length. It is the worst typhoon to hit the island since Typhoon Naha in 1956. Although Bolaven injured five people and left 66,500 households without power as of Monday afternoon, it did less damage than many feared before moving north into the East China Sea.

Although those in Okinawa may be breathing a sigh of relief, residents of Taiwan are bracing for another round. Typhoon Tembin, which drenched southern Taiwan last week before moving out to sea, appears to be circling back for another pass.

ABC News reports that Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau predicted that Tembin would make landfall early Tuesday in the same part of southern Taiwan where it dumped more than 500 millimeters (20 inches) of rain three days ago.

Record-breaking storms like these typhoons have become a common headline as we approach the climate change tipping point. Just recently, Revmodo reported on the fact that changing temperatures could be fueling even more savage hurricanes.

Photo credit: Roberto Verzo/Flickr