Thursday 12 December 2019

Fears as huge typhoon swerves towards Japan

A strong typhoon has swerved toward Japan's heavily populated central islands after it slammed through Okinawa, dumping heavy rain, knocking out power and injuring at least 30 people.

Typhoon Neoguri left toppled trees, flooded cars and bent railings on the southern island, which experienced its heaviest rainfall in a half century, according to the local government.

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

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

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

On Okinawa, nearly 38,000 homes are still without power. At its peak yesterday, more than 105,000 homes were without power.

The Okinawan government has raised the injury toll to 30, from 17 yesterday, and two of them are said to be serious. A man was reported missing from a fishing boat in rough seas off Kyushu to the north.

Neoguri, which means "raccoon dog" in Korean, was moving north at 15 kilometres an hour (9mph) packing sustained winds of 108 kilometres an hour (67mph) by evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

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

Airports in Kyushu are still open, but late flights have been cancelled and additional cancellations may be in the works.

Japan Airlines, the nation's flagship carrier, cancelled 11 flights for today, mostly those leaving Tokyo for Kyushu.

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