Saturday 24 September 2016

Japan braces for flooding as Typhoon Lionrock hits

Published 30/08/2016 | 11:31

Typhoon Lionrock has paralysed traffic, caused blackouts and prompted officials to urge residents to evacuate (Kyodo News/AP)
Typhoon Lionrock has paralysed traffic, caused blackouts and prompted officials to urge residents to evacuate (Kyodo News/AP)

A typhoon has slammed into northern Japan, threatening to bring floods to an area still recovering from the 2011 tsunami.

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Typhoon Lionrock made landfall near the city of Ofunato, about 300 miles north east of Tokyo.

It is the first time a typhoon has made landfall in the northern region since 1951, when the Japan Meteorological Agency started keeping statistics.

Even before it hit land, the storm had paralysed traffic, caused blackouts and prompted officials to urge residents to flee. It was packing winds up to 78mph.

More than 170,000 people were subject to evacuation, including 38,000 in Ofunato, though only some of them actually went to shelters. More than 10,000 homes in the northern region were without electricity, with power lines damaged from the winds.

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami left more than 18,000 people dead on Japan's northern coast, including 340 in Ofunato.

Typhoon Lionrock has brought at least 6in of rain to the region over 24 hours, and is expected to dump up to 3in per hour in some areas, the meteorological agency said, urging residents to use caution and stay away from the coastline.

Major airlines cancelled more than 100 flights to and from the northern region, and bullet train services in the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions were suspended.

At the Fukushima nuclear power plant, devastated by the 2011 disaster, some outdoor decommissioning work was suspended as a precaution.

AP

Press Association

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