The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years has pummeled the country’s western coast, destroying buildings and triggering mass floods. At least six people have been killed and as many as 100 others have been injured.
Japanese authorities on Tuesday urged more than a million people to evacuate as Typhoon Jebi — the strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years — made landfall and pummeled the west of the country with violent winds and torrential rain.
Local media reported that the storm had left at least six people dead and injured almost 100 more.
At least 600 flights, along with dozens of ferries and trains, were canceled as Jebi — Korean for “swallow” — continued on course for the western part of Honshu, Japan’s largest main island. Hundreds of thousands of homes were left without power.
Trail of destruction
Footage showed how the strong gusts of wind had ripped off rooftops, toppled trucks and even swept an anchored tanker into a nearby bridge running towards Osaka’s Kansai International Airport.
Damage to the bridge left the airport cut off from the mainland, stranding about 3,000 people there. Local broadcaster NHK showed footage of the airport’s tarmac completely under water.
Elsewhere the strong winds blew away part of the ceiling in Kyoto’s main train station while, back in Osaka, multistory scaffolding attached to a high-rise building was peeled away.
Japanese weather bureau chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora issued a warning, saying Jebi could trigger landslides, flooding and tornadoes. Other meteorologists gave similar predictions.
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“Damaging winds and coastal flooding may be the most significant impacts with this storm,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Adam Douty. He added that high winds “will have the potential to cause significant damage.”
Authorities recorded winds gusts of up to 216 kilometers per hour (135 miles per hour) as Jebi plowed into Japan’s Honshu island.
Despite being far from the eye of the storm, the capital of Tokyo was set to receive heavy rains by Wednesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a scheduled trip to Japan’s southernmost main island, Kyushu, to oversee the government’s response to the typhoon, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
This year, Japan has been hit by several deadly weather-related disasters: an unprecedentedly severe heat wave in July, followed by torrential rains that triggered landslides and flooding later in the same month, leaving more than 220 people dead. The floods were the deadliest of their kind in more than 30 years
dm, ls/rc (Reuters, dpa)