Typhoon hits city near Tokyo; flights affected

Pedestrians in Tokyo struggling against strong winds and rain when Typhoon Mindulle struck near the capital.
Pedestrians in Tokyo struggling against strong winds and rain when Typhoon Mindulle struck near the capital. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

TOKYO • A powerful typhoon struck near Tokyo yesterday, the first in 11 years to come ashore in the densely populated region, temporarily shutting down a major city airport and grounding more than 500 flights nationwide, including flights to Singapore.

Typhoon Mindulle made landfall at about 12.30pm (0330 GMT) in Tateyama city, 80km south-east of Tokyo, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

According to public broadcaster NHK, 46 people were injured in six prefectures, including a 34-year-old man who broke his rib after falling due to strong winds. One person has died.

"In Tokyo... please exercise caution for landslides, flooding in low- lying areas, surging rivers, violent wind and high waves," the weather agency said.

It was the first typhoon in 11 years to score a direct hit on the Tokyo region from the sea.

Tokyo has experienced other typhoons in ensuing years but they all came ashore elsewhere before moving on to the capital region.

Downpours caused rivers to swell, with gushing waterways close to overflowing but staying within their banks.

Narita international airport, east of Tokyo, closed its runways in the afternoon for about an hour as officers evacuated the control tower due to strong winds, according to the airport operator.

A spokesman for the Changi Airport Group said three flights to Tokyo from Changi Airport were delayed yesterday morning and one cancelled because of Typhoon Mindulle.

Singapore Airlines flight SQ632 departed for Tokyo's Haneda Airport two hours behind schedule, while SQ12 to Los Angeles via Narita International Airport was delayed by 90 minutes.

A Delta Airlines flight to Narita was cancelled.

A Japan Airlines spokesman said the typhoon affected flights JL711 and JL712, delaying their arrivals to Changi Airport and Narita respectively by about 21/2 hours.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

• Additional reporting by Rachel Oh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2016, with the headline 'Typhoon hits city near Tokyo; flights affected'. Print Edition | Subscribe