Typhoon Lionrock rips through north-eastern Japan

A powerful typhoon accompanied by heavy rain and strong winds battered north-eastern Japan Tuesday, with tens of thousands of residents ordered to evacuate their homes.

Typhoon Lionrock inundated some towns after making landfall in the city of Ofunato, 400 kilometres north-east of Tokyo, shortly before 6 pm (0900 GMT).

It is the first typhoon to directly strike north-eastern Japan since records began in 1951, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Five people were injured in the north-east, while the city of Miyako saw record rainfall of about 80 millimetres per hour, Kyodo News agency reported.

The meteorological agency warned of flooding, mudslides and swollen rivers in north-eastern Japan and on the northern island of Hokkaido, while the storm could generate waves of up to 8 to 10 metres.

Precipitation could surpass the entire average rainfall for the month of August in some parts of north-eastern Japan, the region that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The storm caused the cancellation of more than 100 flights while train operators suspended services, including more than 50 shinkansen bullet trains, local media reported.

A total of 35,000 households suffered from power outages, according to Tohoku Electric Power.

As of 10 pm, the season's 10th typhoon was 50 kilometres south of Okushiri Island, travelling north-west at 75 kilometres per hour (kph), with maximum sustained winds of 108 kph and gusts of 162 kph.

The typhoon was expected to weaken to a tropical depression overnight as it passed over the Sea of Japan.

Typhoon Lionrock was the fourth typhoon to hit Japan in two weeks.

Last update: Tue, 30/08/2016 - 16:56
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