Record typhoon lashes Tokyo, killing three

One of the strongest typhoons to hit the Japanese capital in recent years struck just east of Tokyo on Monday, killing one woman.
A fence blown over by strong winds in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture, yesterday. Among those killed was a woman in her 50s in Tokyo, who died after she was smashed against a building by strong gusts, according to security camera footage. PHOTO: BLOOMB
A fence blown over by strong winds in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture, yesterday. Among those killed was a woman in her 50s in Tokyo, who died after she was smashed against a building by strong gusts, according to security camera footage. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Storm brings high winds, causing transport chaos and power cuts to 934,000 homes

The Greater Tokyo region endured its most violent storm in history early yesterday as Typhoon Faxai lashed the area, killing at least three people and leaving behind in its wake transport snarls and stifling heat.

Unseasonable temperatures rose to as high as 37 deg C in Tokyo's Nerima ward mere hours after Faxai - the 15th typhoon of the season - swept through the world's largest metropolitan area, felling trees and power lines, toppling walls and scaffolding, and blowing away roofs.

Yesterday was the first time in 19 years that the mercury rose above 36 deg C in Tokyo in September, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, as it issued heatstroke warnings. The heat is expected to continue today.

A woman in her 50s died in Tokyo after she was smashed against a building by strong gusts, according to security camera footage.

In Otaki town in Chiba prefecture, an 87-year-old man died when a tree fell on him. Mr Ichiro Shimizu was working with his daughter to remove storm debris from a private road connecting his home to the main road.

Mr Shunichi Hamawaki, 47, died at the Yokosuka base of the Maritime Self-Defence Force in Kanagawa prefecture, and police believe he might have been blown off a terrace on the second floor.

About 60 others were injured, media reports said, including a woman in her 20s who was severely hurt after she was pinned by metal pillars at a golf practice range that fell onto her home in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture.

 

After hammering the Greater Tokyo region, Typhoon Faxai headed north-east at a speed of 25kmh towards the Tohoku region before heading out to the Pacific Ocean yesterday afternoon.

At its peak, the storm had triggered non-compulsory evacuation warnings for more than 390,000 people, and caused blackouts in some 934,000 homes in what was the worst power outage in the region since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.

As of last night, 670,000 homes were still without electricity, mainly in Chiba prefecture east of Tokyo. Two power transmission towers that service the prefecture had collapsed, and the Tokyo Electric Power Company has requested help from utilities companies in other regions to support its equipment restoration.

The blackout forced a Sony unit to suspend operations at its plant in Chiba prefecture, where it produces the PlayStation 4 console.

The storm caused major peak-hour transport snarls yesterday, affecting about three million rush-hour commuters, as train operators suspended operations on major lines until at least 8am.

Long lines formed outside station gantries, with many reporting having to wait for more than an hour before being able to board their train.

One of Tokyo's busiest and most important services - the JR Yamanote railway loop - resumed service only at 10.30am after operator JR East inspected tracks and cleared debris between Shinagawa and Osaki stations, where a tree had fallen onto an overhead power line.

At least four flights between Singapore and Tokyo were rescheduled, and they were among at least 100 flights that had to be cancelled or rescheduled.

Typhoon Faxai made landfall in Chiba just before 5am yester-day (4am Singapore time) after pummelling Tokyo Bay, where the raging seas caused a 2,982-ton and a 5,578-ton container vessel to collide.

Wind speeds in Chiba's Chuo ward topped a record-breaking 207kmh, while Narita had wind speeds of 165kmh and Haneda Airport 156kmh.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2019, with the headline 'Record typhoon lashes Tokyo, killing three'. Print Edition | Subscribe