Sun, Oct 13, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Rain, winds batter Tokyo as powerful typhoon hits Japan


Waves generated by Typhoon Hagibis hit a breakwater at a port in Kiho, Japan, yesterday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

A heavy downpour and strong winds yesterday pounded Tokyo and surrounding areas as a powerful typhoon forecast as the worst in six decades approached landfall, with streets and train stations deserted and shops shuttered.

Store shelves were bare after people stocked up on water and food. Nearby beaches had not a surfer in sight, only towering dashing waves. Several evacuation warnings were issued in Tokyo areas warning of possible flooding.

Typhoon Hagibis, closing in from the Pacific, brought heavy rainfall in wide areas of Japan ahead of its landfall, including Shizuoka and Mie prefectures, southwest of Tokyo, as well as Chiba to the north, which had suffered power outages and damaged homes from last month’s typhoon.

Under gloomy skies, a tornado ripped through Chiba, overturning a car in the city of Ichihara and killing a man inside, city official Tatsuya Sakamaki said.

Five people were also injured when the tornado ripped through a house.

Their injuries were not life-threatening, Sakamaki said.

The rains caused rivers to swell, flipped anchored boats and whipped up sea waters in a dangerous surge along the coast, flooding some residential neighborhoods and leaving people to wade in ankle-deep waters and cars floating.

In Shizuoka Prefecture, one of two men who went missing in the Nishikawa River was rescued, Gotemba city official Fumihiko Katsumata said.

Firefighters said the two men were working at a river canal to try to control overflowing when they were swept away.

Yusuke Ikegaya, a Shizuoka resident, was lucky and evacuated to safety.

He said he was surprised because he had been told the typhoon was landing in the afternoon, but noticed the nearby river about to overflow in the morning.

“In the 28 years of my life, this is the first time I’ve had to evacuate even before a typhoon has landed,” he said.

Authorities also warned of mudslides, common in mountainous Japan.

Rugby World Cup matches, concerts and other events have been canceled. Flights were grounded and train services halted. Authorities acted quickly, with warnings issued earlier this week, including urging people to stay indoors.

Some residents taped up their apartment windows in case they shattered.

TV talks shows showed footage of household items, such as a slipper, bashing through glass when hurled by winds as powerful as the approaching typhoon.

The typhoon that hit the Tokyo region in 1958 left more than 1,200 people dead and a half-million houses flooded.

About 17,000 police and military troops have been called up, standing ready for rescue operations.

Hagibis, which means “speed” in Filipino, was advancing north-northwestward with maximum sustained winds of 162km per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It was expected to make landfall near Tokyo later yesterday, unleashing up to 55mm of rains and then blow out to sea eastward.

Evacuation advisories have been issued for risk areas, including Shimoda city, west of Tokyo.

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