Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Storm heads towards central Japan

Typhoon Neoguri is approaching central Japan (AP/Yonhap)

A strong storm has swerved towards Japan's heavily populated main islands after slamming through the southern islands inflicting injuries on 32 people.

The islands of Okinawa saw heavy rain and lost power, while the storm elevated rainfalls in other areas of the country, leaving two people dead.

Typhoon Neoguri was downgraded to a storm today after losing strength. But it toppled trees, flooded cars and bent railings in Okinawa, which experienced its heaviest rainfall in a half century.

One of the biggest storms to hit during Japan's summer, Neoguri was forecast to hit Kyushu island tomorrow. Then it could possibly hit the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo while traveling across the main island of Honshu.

Kyushu's Fukuoka prefecture issued warnings for strong winds, high tides and heavy rains, and advised people to stay indoors as much as possible.

In central Japan, rainfalls were elevated by the storm and caused floods and landslides, killing two people.

In Fukushima, an 83-year-old man fell into a swollen river and died, while a landslide knocked out a house in Nagano, leaving a family of four underneath debris.

The torrents of rain expected could trigger more landslides and floods, and much of eastern Japan was at risk of lightning and tornadoes.

On Okinawa, nearly 6,000 homes are still without power. At the storm's peak yesterday, more than 105,000 homes were without electricity.

The Okinawan government raised the injury toll to 32, from 17 the day before, with two people suffering serious injuries. A man was reported missing from a fishing boat in rough seas off Kyushu to the north.

Neoguri, which means "raccoon dog" in Korean, is just west of Kyushu and moving northward packing sustained winds of 108 kilometres (67 miles) per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Okinawa's main airport has reopened, although some morning flights were cancelled. Spokesman Takumi Higa said no damage had been reported.

Late flights in Kyushu have also been axed and additional cancellations were expected as the storm nears.

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