Strong winds buffet Saga Prefecture

Kyodo

Strong winds blew through Saga Prefecture on Sunday morning, causing blackouts, damage and minor injuries to 13 people, according to local fire and police officials.

The gusts, which occurred at around 7:20 a.m., knocked down five power poles, causing up to 6,300 houses in the Saga area to lose electricity, Kyushu Electric Power Co. officials said. Traffic lights also stopped working.

About 260 houses were damaged and some cars were blown on to their sides. The roof of an elementary school and gates at a high school pool were damaged.

The Saga Local Meteorological Observatory said the gusts may have resulted from a tornado traveling at a speed of 180 kph to 248 kph.

The observatory said the atmospheric pressure dropped sharply due to a seasonal rain front in the prefecture.

The gusts recorded a wind velocity of 65.16 kph at 7:22 a.m.

“Due to rain clouds that developed around Saga, a situation was created under which tornadoes and gusts could easily occur,” an observatory official said.