Typhoon kills four, others still missing

At least four people were killed and about a dozen others were missing Wednesday as Typhoon Meari hit wide areas of western and southwestern Japan.

Meari, the 21st typhoon this season, brought winds of up to 90 kph and heavy rain to Shikoku in the afternoon and was moving east-northeastward. The typhoon hit Kagoshima Prefecture earlier in the day.

The typhoon caused a record amount of rainfall in Mie Prefecture. In the town of Miyama, a man drowned in a flooded roadside draining ditch. The body of another man was found later in a different river in the town that was also flooded by the heavy rain.

In other parts of the prefecture, seven others were reported missing after they either fell in flooded rivers or were buried in mudslides.

In Yamaguchi Prefecture, a local fishing boat was missing, as well as its skipper.

Also, two people were reported killed and several others were listed as missing in Ehime Prefecture as the heavy rains caused floods and mudslides.

At least 32 people were injured, and more than 3,000 people had to evacuate their homes. As of Wednesday evening, an evacuation advisory had been issued to about 30,000 people in Mie Prefecture alone.

Damage was likely to expand as landslides buried houses in the Mie village of Miyagawa, where officials were unable to contact nine residents. Also, flooding isolated about 100 people each in two towns in Mie, including 100 at a care facility for the elderly.

The prefectural government asked the Self-Defense Forces for help in rescue efforts.

The typhoon caused the cancellation of 267 domestic flights to and from airports in Kyushu and Shikoku on Wednesday, affecting about 19,000 travelers.

Shinkansen and other train services in Kyushu were halted Wednesday morning. High-speed ferries connecting Pusan, South Korea, and Hakata were also canceled. Sections of Kyushu expressways were closed.

The typhoon is expected to weaken and be downgraded to an extratropical depression Friday afternoon, it said.