Typhoon Nabi headed north Wednesday over the Sea of Japan toward Hokkaido after leaving at least 18 dead, nine missing, 113 injured and thousands displaced in Kyushu and parts of western Japan.
According to the Meteorological Agency, the typhoon had weakened somewhat as it headed toward Hokkaido, possibly making landfall there by early Thursday.
By late Tuesday, local governments in affected areas had ordered some 115,000 people to evacuate their homes, and advised roughly 242,000 others to do so. In addition, authorities said more than 40,000 people had left their homes voluntarily.
The typhoon was packing winds of up to 90 kph at its center and was 580 km northwest of Tokyo over the Sea of Japan as of 7 p.m. Wednesday, moving northeast at 50 kph, the agency said.
It became the third typhoon this year to hit one of the main islands when it made landfall in Isahaya, Nagasaki Prefecture, at around 2 p.m. Tuesday, and moved to the Sea of Japan after 8 p.m.
At around 3:10 a.m. Wednesday, police in Yamaguchi Prefecture found a section of the Sanyo Expressway in Iwakuni had collapsed and two homes crushed by the ensuing landslide. Although the expressway had been closed to traffic due to the typhoon, three residents were missing, they said.
One of the three was identified as Makoto Kobayashi, 81. His 78-year-old wife was rescued, police said. The collapse also flattened the home of Shigeaki Yamachika, 70.
The bodies of wheelchair-bound Yamachika and his wife, Fumie, 65, were found in the afternoon.
Construction experts expressed surprise that the expressway had caved in during a typhoon.
“I’ve never heard of any cave-in affecting the main part of an expressway,” said Yoshimichi Tsukamoto, an assistant professor at the Science University of Tokyo.
In the town of Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture, Kenichi Sato, 70, was found dead after being buried in a landslide.
Tadashi Chuman, 53, and Ninosuke Sonoda, 85, were confirmed dead in landslides in Tarumizu, Kagoshima Prefecture. Yoshi Maekoba, 75, swept away by a mudflow, was also found dead Tuesday in Tarumizu.
By Wednesday morning, rescuers had found the bodies of two women, identified as Michie Maekoba, 76, and Yotsue Maekoba, also 76. The three women had taken refuge in the same house.
Mitsugu Okada, 72, died after falling into a ditch in the town of Ishii, Tokushima Prefecture.
In Mimata, Miyazaki Prefecture, Fujiyasu Tokito, 75, and his 64-year-old wife, Sumiko, were found dead after a mudslide hit their home.
A 37-year-old woman from Okayama was found dead after falling from the deck of a ferry into the Seto Inland Sea off Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, early Tuesday when strong wind shook the vessel just before it arrived at port. The Takamatsu Coast Guard Office initially said the death was linked to the typhoon but later said she fell from the deck accidentally and her death was not related to the typhoon.
Nabi, which means butterfly in Korean, also wrought havoc in public transportation.
In Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, two wooden supports of the five-arched Kintaikyo Bridge were washed away Tuesday night as the Nishiki River swelled. The 193-meter bridge was first built by feudal lord Kikkawa Hiroyoshi in 1673 and had been lost in floods twice, in 1674 and in 1950. The storm, however, was not a curse for some.
The deluge boosted water levels at the Sameura Dam reservoir in Shikoku to 100 percent capacity as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. The region had suffered a major drought, and reservoir levels hit zero twice.
It was the first time the reservoir has hit 100 percent capacity in four months.
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