Powerful storm hits disaster-ravaged Japan

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‘More than 170 domestic flights were cancelled and train services disrupted. At least 10 people were injured in falls or by cuts from broken glass and metal shards’

PIC: Typhoon Jongdari weakened after making landfall, but parts of Japan remained on alert. (AFP)
 
HEAVY WINDS
 
A powerful storm slammed into Japan on Sunday, bringing heavy rain as it churned across western areas already hard hit by floods and landslides earlier this month.
 
Typhoon Jongdari, with winds of up to 180 kilometres (110 miles) an hour, made landfall at Ise in Mie prefecture at around 1:00am, according to the meteorological agency.
 
More than 170 domestic flights were cancelled and train services disrupted. At least 10 people were injured in falls or by cuts from broken glass and metal shards, local police said.
 
Public broadcaster NHK put the number of injured at 19 across six prefectures.
 
The typhoon weakened after making landfall and was downgraded to a tropical storm but many provinces stayed on alert.
 
“We have been on emergency alert the whole time since the rain disaster” in early July, said Koji Kunitomi, a crisis management official in the western prefecture of Okayama.
 
“Fortunately, so far, we haven’t seen new flooding,” he told AFP.
 
The storm, after unleashing torrential rain over eastern Japan, was moving west Sunday afternoon. Authorities in western Japan urged tens of thousands of residents to evacuate before the rain intensifies.
 
TV footage showed high waves smashing onto rocks and seawalls southwest of Tokyo and trees buffeted by strong winds and heavy rain.
 
Waves shattered the window of an ocean-view restaurant at a hotel in the resort town of Atami southwest of Tokyo late Saturday.
 
“We didn’t expect this could happen… Waves gushed into the restaurant as the window broke but we are grateful that customers followed evacuation instructions,” an official at the hotel told AFP.
 
“Fortunately no one was seriously hurt,” she said, adding five people suffered cuts from broken glass as they fled.
 
The storm was moving across the western region of Chugoku, where record rainfall early this month unleashed flooding and landslides which killed around 220 people. 
 
It was Japan’s worst weather-related disaster in decades, and thousands of those affected are still in temporary shelters or damaged homes.
 
The weather agency warned of heavy rain, landslides, strong winds and high waves.
 
In Japan evacuation orders are not mandatory and people often remain at home, only to become trapped later by rapidly rising water or sudden landslides.
 
Japan is now in typhoon season and is regularly hit by major storms during the summer and autumn.

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