Powerful typhoon left dead, missing in wake

Kyodo, JIJI

Typhoon Guchol veered away from Japan and out over the Pacific on Wednesday, after heavy rainfall and strong winds in eastern and northeastern regions left one person dead, another missing and 44 injured, authorities said.

The storm caused record rainfall in several areas before weakening in the Pacific east of Japan, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Hourly rainfall reached new highs for June in some locations, with Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, observing 56 mm, while wind speeds also hit records for the month in some cities, including 137.2 kph in Chiba, it said.

The powerful typhoon, the season’s fourth, which affected 10 prefectures, including Tokyo, was the first to make landfall this year and the first tropical storm to hit Japan in June since 2004. Guchol was the seventh-earliest typhoon to reach Japanese soil on record.

In Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Kentaro Yamamoto, 53, was killed when a prefabricated building collapsed amid powerful winds, and a 16-year-old girl disappeared in Nirasaki, Yamanashi Prefecture, around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday near a swollen river, police said.

The heavy rain led to evacuation advisories being issued to around 123,000 residents in areas long three rivers in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, and to a total of 15,000 residents of the cities of Ishinomaki and Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture.

Public transportation services were also heavily disrupted.

All Nippon Airways canceled 199 flights, Japan Airlines Corp. 176, including some on international routes, and Skymark Airlines 66, affecting about 35,000 people in total. Other airlines also scrubbed flights.

Meanwhile, Tokaido Shinkansen Line services were delayed by about an hour and Tohoku bullet line services were suspended on the Tokyo-Sendai section due to a power loss.

As a precaution, Tokyo Skytree’s observation decks were closed one to four hours earlier than scheduled as the typhoon bore down on the capital.

The typhoon brought warm air to the Kanto region Wednesday morning, with the temperature shooting over 30 degrees at many locations.

Hachioji in Tokyo logged 34 degrees, whike Kofu in Yamanashi Prefecture recorded 33.5 degrees, local meteorological observatories said. This level is usually experienced in July and August, officials said.