Saturday, April 20

Transport disruption as typhoon batters Japan


A wind turbine which was knocked down as Typhoon Cimaron passed through western Japan is pictured in Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. — Reuters photo

TOKYO: A strong typhoon barrelled toward Japan’s northern island yesterday after churning over parts of western Japan already hit by deadly flooding last month, but while transport links were disrupted, injuries and damages were limited.

Typhoon Cimaron made landfall late Thursday and passed over the Japanese archipelago overnight, bringing winds of nearly 200 kilometres per hour and dumping up to 600 millimetres of rain in 48 hours, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The typhoon was moving northeast over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) yesterday afternoon and forecast to make landfall again on the northern island of Hokkaido later in the day, although its strength had declined significantly.

Television pictures showed torrential rain, flooded streets and some structural damage with roof tiles blown off and one lorry overturned on a bridge by the high winds.

Television footage also showed a 60-metre wind turbine felled by gusts on Awaji island, western Japan, crushing two nearby power pylons.

The storm left nearly 100,000 households without power and forced airlines to scrap around 300 flights on Thursday and yesterday. Bullet train services in the region were temporarily cancelled although they were running again yesterday morning.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 30 people were injured while non-compulsory evacuation orders and advisories were at one point issued to more than one million people in western Japan.

“But the number of people advised to evacuate has declined dramatically and is likely to fall further now,” an agency official told AFP, adding that at least 77 houses and buildings had sustained damage.

Officials warned citizens to be vigilant for flooding, landslides and high waves, with meteorological agency chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora saying the typhoon could bring ‘multiple hazardous phenomena’.

Cimaron followed Typhoon Soulik, which passed through southern Japan earlier this week, bringing heavy rain to parts of the main southern island of Kyushu.

The typhoon is the latest weather front to batter Japan, which has also been sweating through a record and deadly heatwave.

This followed devastating heavy rain in central and western parts of the country in July that killed more than 200 people. — AFP