Typhoon Etau pummels Japan with gales, heavy rain; evacuations ordered

Kyodo, JIJI, staff report

Typhoon Etau made landfall Wednesday morning on the Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture. The weather agency warned of mudslides, flooding and high winds and waves.

Some trains and flights were canceled. There were partial closures on some highways and thousands of evacuations were in force.

Local authorities in the city of Toba, Mie Prefecture, and the nearby city of Ise issued evacuation orders to around 14,000 residents due to the risk of landslides and flooding along rivers.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued landslide warnings in some parts of Tohoku, Tokai and the Kanto-Koshin central-eastern region. Across eastern Japan there were widespread storm warnings and alerts over swollen rivers and high waves off the coast.

Toba suffered 75.5 millimeters of rainfall in an hour on Wednesday morning, while the hot spring resort of Hakone, near Tokyo, logged 55 mm. Winds of 109 kph were measured in Tahara, Aichi.

Airlines scrubbed 55 flights that were scheduled to leave and arrive at Chubu airport in Aichi Prefecture on Wednesday.

Central Japan Railway Co., or JR Tokai, suspended operations on some of its lines from the start of operations Wednesday and reduced the number of trains in service to 30 to 80 percent of normal levels elsewhere.

Bullet trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line were running slower than usual, affecting thousands of passengers.

The Tomei Expressway, which connects Tokyo and Aichi Prefecture, was expected to be closed to traffic in some areas from early Wednesday.

A range of injuries were reported.

A 77-year-old woman who was walking her dog in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, early Wednesday morning was blown over and suffered a broken leg, the city’s fire department said.

A woman in her 80s from Kosai, Shizuoka Prefecture, and a man in his 60s from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, also suffered minor injuries the same day.

Three men sustained minor injuries Tuesday in Hamamatsu. Two of them fell while walking, while the third was injured when a mudslide hit his vehicle.

At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the typhoon was about 130 km west of Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, and traveling north-northwest at a speed of 35 kph, according to the Meteorological Agency. It registered a central atmospheric pressure of 998 hectopascals, with sustained winds of up to 65 kph near the center and a maximum instantaneous wind speed of 90 kph.

East Japan Railway Co. partially halted Akita Shinkansen services on Wednesday due to strong wind.

An 83-year-old woman fell over in strong wind on Wednesday afternoon in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, and hit her head.

An estimated 200 mm of rain is expected to fall in the 24 hours to noon Thursday in the Kanto-Koshin and Tohoku regions and 100 mm in the Kinki and Chugoku regions.

The typhoon weakened into an extratropical depression off the Sea of Japan Wednesday night, but heavy rain is expected to continue along Japan’s eastern Pacific coast on Thursday, the Meteorological Agency said.