Powerful typhoon hits western Japan, killing at least six

Boats floating along with debris in Nishinomiya City, in Hyogo prefecture, yesterday. Tides in some areas were the highest since a typhoon in 1961, NHK reported. Damage from loose construction scaffolding in Osaka in the aftermath of Typhoon Jebi yes
Damage from loose construction scaffolding in Osaka in the aftermath of Typhoon Jebi yesterday. The typhoon was the strongest to hit Japan in 25 years.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Boats floating along with debris in Nishinomiya City, in Hyogo prefecture, yesterday. Tides in some areas were the highest since a typhoon in 1961, NHK reported. Damage from loose construction scaffolding in Osaka in the aftermath of Typhoon Jebi yes
Boats floating along with debris in Nishinomiya City, in Hyogo prefecture, yesterday. Tides in some areas were the highest since a typhoon in 1961, NHK reported. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO • Japan issued evacuation advisories for more than a million people and cancelled hundreds of flights as the strongest typhoon to hit the country in 25 years sliced across the west yesterday, killing at least six people.

Jebi - whose name means "swallow" in Korean - is also the latest storm to hit Japan this summer following rain, landslides, floods and record-breaking heat that killed hundreds of people.

Television footage showed waves pounding the coastline, sheet metal tumbling across a carpark, cars turned on their sides, dozens of used cars on fire at an exhibition area, and a big Ferris wheel spinning around in the strong winds.

As the typhoon made landfall, a 71-year-old man was found dead under a warehouse that had collapsed, likely due to strong winds, and a man in his 70s fell from the roof of a house and died, NHK public television reported, adding that more than 90 people were injured.

NHK put the number of deaths at six and the injured at 164.

Tides in some areas were the highest since a typhoon in 1961, NHK said, with flooding covering one runway at Kansai airport in Osaka, forcing the closure of the airport and leaving tourists stranded.

"This storm is super (strong). I hope I can get home," a woman from Hong Kong told NHK at the airport.

Singapore Airlines said it has cancelled four flights: SQ622 and SQ618 from Singapore to Osaka; and SQ623 and SQ619 from Osaka to Singapore.

The strong winds and high tides sent a 2,591-tonne tanker crashing into a bridge connecting Kansai airport, which is built on a man-made island in a bay, to the mainland. The bridge was damaged but the tanker was empty, the coast guard said.

The storm made landfall on Shikoku, the smallest main island, around noon. Wind gusts of up to 208kmh were recorded in one part of Shikoku.

The storm raked across the western part of the largest main island, Honshu, near the city of Kobe, several hours later, before heading out to the Sea of Japan in the evening.

The centre of Jebi was about 100km west to north-west of Sado in Niigata prefecture, central Japan, and heading north to north-east, NHK said. Around 100mm of rain drenched one part of Kyoto in an hour, with as much as 500mm set to fall in some areas in the 24 hours to noon today.

Traffic boards and communication relay poles in Osaka were brought down yesterday by the strong winds caused by Typhoon Jebi. The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years has killed at least six people and injured more than 160. The storm also caus
Traffic boards and communication relay poles in Osaka were brought down yesterday by the strong winds caused by Typhoon Jebi. The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years has killed at least six people and injured more than 160. The storm also caused transportation havoc, with train and flight services suspended. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A video posted on Twitter showed a small part of the roof of the Kyoto train station falling to the ground. Other videos showed roofs being torn off houses, transformers on electric poles exploding and a car sliding on its side across a carpark.

Nearly 800 flights were cancelled, along with scores of ferry and train services, NHK said. Shinkansen bullet train services between Tokyo and Okayama were also suspended.

Some 1.6 million households were without power in the Osaka region at 5pm. Tokyo escaped the centre of the storm but was set for heavy rain and high winds.

Jebi's course brought it close to parts of western Japan hit by heavy rain and flooding that killed more than 200 people in July, but most of the damage appeared to be from the high winds.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

• Additional reporting by Karamjit Kaur

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2018, with the headline 'Powerful typhoon hits western Japan, killing at least six'. Print Edition | Subscribe