TOKYO – For the second time in less than a month, Tokyo hunkered down as a powerful typhoon came ashore Tuesday with gusting winds and sheets of rain that killed five people, halted trains and planes and swelled rivers to dangerously high levels.
although Typhoon Danas was technically a tropical storm by the time it swept over Tokyo – typhoons need sustained winds of 74 mph; Danas weighed in at 56 mph – it was still one of the most powerful storms to hit Japan’s capital in years.
Even though Danas was gradually losing strength, the Meteorological Agency warned again Tuesday of overflowing rivers, violent winds, high waves and mudslides.
More than 350,000 homes were left without electricity as fallen trees snapped lines.
Lashing winds and fierce rain kept 55 of the country’s superfast bullet trains from leaving stations by midday Tuesday, stranding more than 14,000 passengers in the storm’s path in central Japan.
Danas also forced the cancellations of more than 140 domestic and international airline flights, affecting more than 20,000 passengers, Kyodo news agency reported.
Four people died after being buried in mudslides, while another man was killed after being blown from a rooftop where he was trying to fix an antenna.
Rains that have drenched much of the country since Saturday intensified in eastern and northern Japan on Tuesday, with some areas receiving up to 32 inches since the weekend.
Nearly 300 buildings were damaged by widespread flooding in several prefectures, a national police spokesman said late Tuesday. Authorities also ordered 1,722 people across Japan’s main island of Honshu to leave their homes, public television broadcaster NHK reported.
Separately, another storm hovered off Kumejima, one of the islands in the Okinawan chain in southern Japan, the Meteorological Agency said.
That storm, Nari was packing winds up to 78 mph, the agency said. Nari is the Korean word for “flower.”
Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.