TOKYO • Typhoon Nangka lashed Japan yesterday, killing at least two people and triggering floods as the authorities urged more than 230,000 residents to evacuate.
Packing gusts of up to 126kmh, Nangka barrelled over the nation's main island of Honshu after making landfall near Cape Muroto on Shikoku island late on Thursday.
Nangka (Malay for jackfruit) paralysed traffic. A total of 165 flights were cancelled, trains in western Japan suffered delays and highways near the ocean were closed.
Television footage showed muddy water overflowing Naka river in Tokushima, flooding up to the second floor of nearby school buildings.
The weather agency has issued warnings for floods, gale-force winds, landslides and high waves in southern Japan.
Local authorities urged at least 230,000 people in the storm's path to evacuate, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK.
A 71-year-old who was trying to reinforce window panes was found dead on Thursday on Awaji island, Hyogo prefecture, a local official said, adding that a few landslides had been reported. "Winds are getting weaker but rain remains quite heavy," he said. "We are still asking our residents to stay on alert."
An 85-year-old who had apparently gone out to check on farmland was found dead on Thursday night in Shiso, also in Hyogo prefecture, another official said.
NHK said at least 39 people had been injured in the storm.
The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast rainfall in the 24 hours through noon yesterday of 800mm in Shikoku, 600mm in Osaka, Nagoya and surrounding regions, and 300mm in greater Tokyo.
The storm headed into the Sea of Japan late yesterday and is forecast to weaken into a tropical depression as it heads north-east across the northern tip of Honshu tomorrow.
Another storm, Halola, is also forecast to spin towards Japan but is about a week away, according to forecaster Tropical Storm Risk.
The Pacific Ocean has been very active in recent weeks, with eight tropical systems - including two major typhoons - forming across the Pacific from China to Mexico over the past week or so.
Another system developed in the Southern Hemisphere, putting the two-week tally for the Pacific basin at nine, said Dr Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. Scientists say a strengthening El Nino weather phenomenon in the Pacific is partly to blame.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG