OTSU, SHIGA PREF. – A tornado injured at least eight people, blew off dozens of roofs and knocked out power to hundreds of households Friday in Shiga Prefecture.
Winds damaged some 85 buildings, cars and other property and knocked down utility poles in Maibara, according to local police and government officials. None of the injuries was serious.
The Meteorological Agency said Friday night that, based on witness accounts and weather conditions at the time, the damage was apparently caused by a tornado.
“We saw a tornado forming right above our school ground and developing into a shape of an upside-down cone around 30 meters high,” said Atsushi Watanabe, an official at Ibuki High School in the city.
Tomoko Yano, who lives near the school, said, “I couldn’t close the window because of the enormous wind pressure. It was terrifying to see a sparrow falling from the sky and objects flying.”
Another resident said, “The wind was enormous. The roof of my house flew away.”
Services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line were temporarily suspended near the area.