Typhoon Hagibis Leave Dozens Dead in Japan

Published October 14th, 2019 - 07:30 GMT
Residents clear mud from a street at the flooded area in Marumori, Miyagi prefecture on October 14, 2019, in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis. Tens of thousands of rescue workers were searching for survivors of powerful Typhoon Hagibis, two days after the storm slammed into Japan, killing at least 35 people. (Jiji Press / AFP)
Residents clear mud from a street at the flooded area in Marumori, Miyagi prefecture on October 14, 2019, in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis. Tens of thousands of rescue workers were searching for survivors of powerful Typhoon Hagibis, two days after the storm slammed into Japan, killing at least 35 people. (Jiji Press / AFP)

At least 28 people have died and 18 people are missing in the aftermath of Hagibis, the strongest typhoon to strike Japan's mainland in decades.

NHK also reported 166 people were injured.

Record-breaking rainfall, strong winds and severe flooding struck central to northern Japan on Saturday, making landfall on Shizuoka Prefecture's Izu Peninsula.

Nagano, Niigata, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures were inundated by floodwaters after levees failed. Officials are bracing for worsening conditions as the water levels may rise along flooded rivers.

Japan Times reported Sunday that officials were assessing the damage from the 19th named storm of the season.

"I extend my condolences for all those who lost their lives and offer my sympathy to those who all those impacted by Typhoon [Hagibis]," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a ministerial meeting on the typhoon at the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday.

More than 200,000 households in eastern and central Japan were left without power as of Sunday afternoon.

Train operators resumed services by Sunday afternoon after suspensions on Saturday.

A Panamanian cargo ship sunk in Tokyo Bay on Saturday night, killing five people.

The day before Hagibis made landfall in Japan, residents of Tokyo were scraping for the last supermarkets had to sell across the city as they prepared for what the Japan Times reported Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike had called "a typhoon of unprecedented scale."

Hagibis rapidly strengthened in the West Pacific to become the third super typhoon of the season last week. The storm went from a tropical depression with sustained winds of 30 mph to a super typhoon producing winds of 150 mph only 48 hours later.

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At a peak strength of 160 mph, the typhoon tied with Wutip from February as the most powerful tropical cyclone in the West Pacific Basin this year.

Although the Japan Meteorological Agency had downgraded the status of the storm to a "strong" typhoon before landfall in Japan, the agency had warned in a news conference during that Friday morning the storm could be as severe as the Kanogawa Typhoon, which had killed more than 1,200 people in 1958 and is one of the deadliest typhoons on record, the New York Times reported.

By 5 a.m. local time Saturday, the JMA had downgraded the scale of Hagibis from a "large and strong" typhoon to a "large" typhoon with maximum sustained winds of about 70 mph and gusts of about 98 mph.

The deadly Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in Japan just before 7 p.m. local time on Saturday, moving ashore near Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture and packing winds of the equivalent strength as a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean basins.

Twelve hours before landfall, evacuation advisories were set in place for 86,846 households and 191,878 people in Odawara, a city in Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture at 7 a.m. Saturday morning local time, according to local news station NHK. The evacuation advisory was at a warning level 4 out of 5, calling for immediate evacuation.

As the number of evacuations began to mount toward at least 4 million people, the NHK said, so did the number of power outages across the regions. Bands of wind and rain preceding Hagibis knocked out the power for more than 270,000 households. By just after midnight local time, over 431,900 homes were without power after landfall. Some locations may be without power for an extended period during and following the storm.

Wind gusts measured up to 100 mph at Kozushima, one of the islands south of Tokyo an hour after landfall at 8 p.m. local time, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty.

The NHK reported that a record level of close to 39 inches, from the storm had fallen over Hakone Town in the Kanagawa Prefecture over a time span of 48 hours.

The Japan Meteorology Agency issued level 5 heavy rain emergencies - the highest level of warning in the JMA's five-level warning system - across at least seven prefectures early Sunday morning.

"Reports of rainfall totals between 6 to 12 inches, or 152 to 304 millimeters, were common across Kansai, Chubu and Kanto, but locally higher amounts have been reported in higher elevations of the mountains," AccuWeather Meteorologist Maura Kelly said. "Chichibu reported 20.11 inches, or 511 millimeters, of rainfall through Saturday night."

Ten levees have collapsed on nine rivers due to the heavy rain, according to NHK.

Early Sunday morning, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government decided to apply the Disaster Relief Law to the 25 wards and municipalities of Tokyo due to the damage caused by Hagibis, the news source said.

This means that government and city aid will pay for the installation of evacuation shelters and emergency repairs for damaged homes.

"While high pressure building over northern Japan will bring dry conditions on Sunday night, a weak storm system will begin to develop near southern Japan," AccuWeather Meteorologist Maura Kelly said. "This system can bring occasional showers to coastal locations of Kansai, Chubu and Kanto, areas hardest hit by Hagibis."

In the storm's approach, most events scheduled for Saturday had been rescheduled for Sunday, including Saturday's qualifying race for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Racing Course.

"Another cold front is expected to move over Japan and bring occasional showers to the area during the beginning of this week," Kelly said. "By the middle of the week, dry conditions look to return to areas recovering from Hagibis. Dry weather may last through the end of the week before the next chance of rain arrives in southern Japan."

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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