Typhoon Saomai joined forces with an autumnal rain front to cause the worst downpours in at least a century in central Japan on Monday and Tuesday, causing at least five deaths and leaving three people missing while disrupting road and rail traffic.
Some 180,000 families, or about 400,000 people, in Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures were ordered or advised to evacuate, local officials said. At least 36 people were injured in rain-related accidents, according to police.
The level of the Shonai River, running through Nagoya’s Nakagawa Ward, rose and broke through an embankment, while 100 meters of flood defenses on the Shin River, which runs parallel to the Shonai in Nishi Ward, also collapsed.
The downpour caused landslides and flooding over wide areas, with three people killed after being buried in landslides in the Aichi Prefecture cities of Nagoya and Komaki. Another man was found drowned in Tempaku Ward in Nagoya, while the fifth death occurred in Kamiyahagi, Gifu Prefecture.
A man was also later reported missing in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, after falling into flood waters, police said.
Bullet train services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line connecting Tokyo and Osaka that had been suspended for 24 hours since Monday evening resumed Tuesday afternoon, Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) said. The delay surpassed the previous longest suspension of about 16 hours in 1990.
Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Air System canceled a combined total of 114 flights, mostly to and from Naha in Okinawa on Tuesday because of bad weather.
The Shinkansen suspensions affected at least 84,000 people, while the flight cancellations inconvenienced 21,000, transport officials said.
Power outages caused by flooding at power substations in the three prefectures affected an estimated 32,500 households, Chubu Electric Power Co. said.
More than 40,000 houses and buildings were flooded in Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures, according to Kyodo News estimates.
The Meteorological Agency issued flood and landslide warnings for the Tokai, Kinki and Kanto-Koshin regions.
As of Monday, a total of 584 mm of rain had fallen in Tokai city, Aichi Prefecture, while Nagoya received 562 mm — both the highest figures since the Nagoya observatory began keeping records in 1891, the weather agency said.
Between Monday and 4 p.m Tuesday, 709 mm of rain had fallen on the village of Miyagawa in Mie.
Heavy rain falling at a rate of between 70 mm and 100 mm per hour was expected to continue to affect several regions through today, the agency said.
At 3 p.m. Tuesday, typhoon Saomai was located about 40 km south-southeast of Nago in northern Okinawa, lashing the islands of Okinawa and Amami with strong winds and moving west-northwest at 15 kph.
“Saomai” means Venus in Vietnamese. Asian countries use a common list of typhoon names.
The season’s 14th typhoon, with an atmospheric pressure of 950 hectopascals and packing winds of up to 144 kph, hit Okinawa’s main island Tuesday afternoon, the agency said.
Rain halts Toyota
NAGOYA (Kyodo) Heavy rain caused Toyota Motor Corp. to halt operations at 24 Toyota group factories in the Tokai region Tuesday, the company said.
Operations at 11 Toyota factories and 13 factories run by nine Toyota subsidiaries were suspended at 4 p.m., affecting the assembly of about 10,000 vehicles, Toyota said.
The downpours have disrupted traffic in the region, making it temporarily impossible to supply parts to the factories of Japan’s largest automaker.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.