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Strong typhoon slams northeastern Japan

By Agence France-Presse in Tokyo | China Daily | Updated: 2016-08-31 08:16

A strong typhoon slammed into northeastern Japan on Tuesday, dumping heavy rain and generating high waves that caused flooding along the Pacific coast.

Typhoon Lionrock made landfall near the city of Ofunato shortly before 6 pm, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, after moving up Japan's Pacific Ocean coastline.

Packing wind gusts up to 162 kilometers per hour, the storm was moving northwest at 50 km/h, it said.

It is the first typhoon to directly land in the region from the Pacific Ocean since the country's present weather observation system was introduced in 1951, the agency said.

Typhoons usually approach Japan from the south and southwest before moving northward across the archipelago.

While there were no official reports of casualties, local media reported some minor injuries, such as a fall by a 40-year-old woman in strong winds.

Authorities warned of landslides and high water due to expected heavy rain of up to eight centimeters per hour.

Landfall, which came at high tide, brought flooding along the coast.

Television footage showed local residents struggling to walk amid water above their knees in the city of Miyako, where some cars were half-submerged and some 600 people were advised to evacuate.

Miyako was one of the northeastern coastline cities hit in March 2011 by a deadly tsunami generated by a massive magnitude 9.0 offshore earthquake, which also triggered meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Local authorities were using heavy machinery to pile huge sandbags along the coast in a bid to hold back raging waves, as they opened up some public buildings for use as shelters. Schools were closed across the affected area.

At the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, efforts were made to secure construction cranes and equipment from violent winds.


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