Typhoon Neoguri slammed into the Japanese mainland yesterday, bringing widespread flooding, ripping trees from their roots and leaving houses half-buried under mud, as tens of thousands were urged to seek shelter.
The storm, which has left several people dead and a string of damage in its wake, caused havoc in many small communities as residents struggled to keep waves of dirty water from destroying their homes.
More than 500 houses in several prefectures were flooded due to the typhoon and heavy rain, according to the disaster management agency, with about 490,000 households urged to seek shelter.
“Water kept gushing into the house no matter how hard we tried to pour it out. We kept shoving out water all night,” said a woman in northern Yamagata Prefecture, where humid air brought by the typhoon caused huge downpours.
Officials warned of the risk of flooding and landslides as powerful winds and torrential rain batter the nation.
Neoguri hit the mainland yesterday morning near Akune City on Kyushu, which is home to 13 million people and lies next to Honshu, where major cities including Tokyo and Osaka are located.
The storm had crossed Kyushu by late morning and was forecast to make landfall on Honshu today.
Neoguri’s ferocity slowed somewhat overnight, packing gusts of up to 126kph as it moved east-northeast at 45kph.
Nearly 50 people have been injured in the wake of the storm, officials and reports said, while as many as five deaths have been linked to the typhoon.
The Japanese weather agency forecasts the typhoon to become a tropical storm by this afternoon.
More than 190 flights were canceled, while the government was expected to hold a meeting over how to protect against the force of nature.
The typhoon is likely to reach areas near the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant by this morning. The site’s operator said workers were bracing for the storm.
Rivers and creeks on Honshu were already flooded, with a mudslide swallowing a house and killing a 12-year-old boy inside.