Storm-hit areas in Japan battered by heavy rains, at least 80,000 ordered to evacuate

A man walks with his son near flooded houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis, in Yanagawamachi district, Date City, Fukushima prefecture, on Oct 16, 2019. At least 82 people were killed when Hagibis lashed central and eastern Japan.
A man walks with his son near flooded houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis, in Yanagawamachi district, Date City, Fukushima prefecture, on Oct 16, 2019. At least 82 people were killed when Hagibis lashed central and eastern Japan.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Torrential rains on Friday (Oct 25) battered a wide swathe of eastern Japan that was hit by flooding and high winds from Typhoon Hagibis two weeks ago, sending rivers to the tops of their banks and prompting evacuation orders for tens of thousands.

At least 82 people were killed when Hagibis lashed central and eastern Japan with heavy rains and high winds. Nearly a dozen are still missing and more than 300 were injured.

The authorities warned of the chance of further landslides and flooding, especially in areas hit by levee breaks that have yet to be repaired even provisionally.

Evacuation orders were issued for at least 80,000 people in Chiba prefecture, just east of Tokyo, where rivers were rising precariously close to their banks and authorities warned the rain could continue for a few more hours. Chiba was battered by strong winds from Typhoon Faxai in September that left some areas without power for weeks, before being hit by rain from Hagibis.

Parts of Chiba were pounded by 86 mm of rain in an hour on Friday morning, the third natural disaster to hit the area in the past six weeks. Much of Chiba lost power, some areas for weeks, in Typhoon Faxai in September and then were hit by heavy rains due to Hagibis.

An evacuation advisory was also issued for 50,000 people in Sagamihara, a city south-west of Tokyo that was hit hard by flooding after the typhoon. Six Sagamihara residents were killed in that storm, including a family swept away in their car, and two remain missing.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.  The rain was expected to pound the Tokyo area until evening and then move north. Total rainfall in the area around Tokyo was likely to range from 200 to 300 mm by evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. 

Tropical storm Bualoi, which battered the Ogasawara islands south of the main Japanese archipelago on Thursday while still at typhoon strength, was headed out into the Pacific and expected to weaken to a tropical depression later on Friday.