Typhoon hits central Japan with heavy rain, winds

Powerful Typhoon Mawar hit central Japan early on Friday, bringing heavy rain and fierce winds that left at least one person dead, two people missing and four injured, officials said.

Transportation was also disrupted by the storm, leaving tens of thousands stranded.

Television footage showed swelling rivers flooding houses in Miyagi, about 300km north of Tokyo, and nearly half of a school gymnasium’s roof being blown off in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo.

Packing winds of up to 90kph near its centre, the typhoon was moving north-east after just missing Tokyo and hitting Chiba, 50km east of the capital, the Meteorological Agency said.

Mawar returned to the Pacific coast several hours later and was moving at a speed of 35kph, the agency said, adding that the typhoon would likely be downgraded by late Saturday.

Mawar cut power to more than 3 500 households in Chiba overnight, leading to the evacuation of 54 people into a public school, but power was restored in the morning and residents returned home.

In Shizuoka, 150km west of Tokyo, a 55-year-old man died late on Thursday after falling from the roof of his house. Two other men in the prefecture were slightly injured in the storm, police said.

A 47-year-old man was missing in Saitama, 50km north of Tokyo, after he had gone fishing, police said. Another Saitama resident (74) was also missing after he went walking along a river.

One person was lightly injured in Chiba while a train driver suffered minor cuts when his train hit fallen trees in Gumma, 100km north of Tokyo, police said.

The typhoon flooded 30 households and triggered seven landslides in Chiba and Shizuoka.
It dumped heavy rains on Hakone, a hot-spa resort west of Tokyo, from Thursday to early on Friday.

A total of 89 flights, including eight international flights, were cancelled on Thursday and Friday due to the typhoon, affecting more than 12 500 passengers, airlines said.

On Thursday, the typhoon halted Japan’s bullet train services, affecting about 60 000 people, a spokesperson for Central Japan Railway Company said.

It was the 11th typhoon of the season and the second to hit Japan’s Pacific coast.

In late July, Typhoon Banyan drenched eastern Japan with rain but, like Mawar, failed to hit Tokyo. That typhoon also disrupted traffic, cancelling 43 domestic flights.

Last year, a record 10 typhoons hit mainland Japan. The last of them, Tokage, which means lizard in Japanese, was the deadliest typhoon in a quarter-century, killing 90 people.—AFP

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