Powerful typhoon hits Japan, 150,000 ordered to evacuate
A powerful typhoon made landfall Tuesday for the first time this year in southern Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, with evacuation orders issued for more than 150,000 people in central, eastern and northeastern Japan.
|The upper hand: Umbrellas prove to be no match for strong winds in Abiko, Chiba, Tuesday evening as Typhoon Guchol wreaked havoc over much of Japan. SOFIA ELGHAZZALI PHOTO|
The typhoon made landfall just after 5 p.m. in southern Wakayama, moved offshore and then made landfall again in eastern Aichi Prefecture. It is expected to head northeast across eastern and northern Japan, the agency said, warning of heavy rain and strong winds across a wide area through Wednesday.
The typhoon brought torrential rainfall of over 100 millimeters per hour to central Japan and around Tokyo.
A total of 49,594 households comprising 123,085 people in Toyohashi, Aichi, were requested to evacuate as the water levels of the city’s Umeda, Sana and Yagyu rivers rose.
In Miyagi Prefecture in the northeast, hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the city of Ishinomaki issued an evacuation order for 4,309 households comprising 10,359 people and the city of Kesennuma issued an order for 2,202 households comprising 5,258.
Evacuation orders were also issued in Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, for around 4,700 households comprising 11,800 people.
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Typhoon Guchol, with an atmospheric pressure of 970 hectopascals at its center, was located around 30 kilometers south of Suwa, Nagano Prefecture, traveling northeast at a speed of 70 kilometers per hour with a maximum wind velocity of 162 kph around its center, the agency said.
Thirteen people sustained injuries due to the typhoon in the Kinki region in western Japan, over 70 houses in Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture were flooded, while blackouts affected over 10,000 homes in Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Osaka, Hyogo, Okayama and Shimane prefectures.
Transportation was disrupted, with over 450 domestic flights canceled and some bullet train services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line suspended. West Japan Railway Co. and Shikoku Railway Co. also suspended 184 limited express train services.
At the just-opened Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcast tower at 634 meters, in the capital, the operator suspended elevators linking the 350-meter-high observation deck with the 450-meter-high deck due to gusts. Opening hours were also shortened for the two decks.
Rainfall over the 24-hour period through Wednesday evening is expected to reach 400 mm in the Tokai region, 250 mm around Tokyo and in the Tohoku region, and 180 mm in the Kinki region.
It is the first time since 2004 that a typhoon has made landfall in June in Japan.
Typhoon Talim, the fifth typhoon of the season located in the South China Sea, is also expected to approach the Japanese archipelago, following Guchol.