Typhoon Neoguri threatens cities on Japan's central islands

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2014, 10:58pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 July, 2014, 2:57am

A strong typhoon swerved towards Japan's heavily populated central islands yesterday after it slammed through Okinawa, dumping heavy rain, knocking out power and injuring at least 30 people.

Typhoon Neoguri left toppled trees, flooded cars and bent railings on the island chain, which experienced its heaviest rainfall in a half century, according to the Okinawa government.

One of the biggest storms to hit Japan, Neoguri was forecast to reach Kyushu island today. It could then travel across the main island of Honshu, which includes Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

Kyushu's Fukuoka prefecture issued warnings for strong winds, high tides and heavy rains, and advised people to stay indoors as much as possible.

The torrents of rainfall expected could trigger landslides and floods, and much of eastern Japan was at risk of experiencing lightning and tornadoes.

On Okinawa, nearly 38,000 homes were still without power. At its peak on Tuesday, more than 105,000 homes were without power.

The Okinawan government raised the injury toll to 30 yesterday from 17 the day before, two of them seriously. A man was reported missing from a fishing boat in rough seas off Kyushu to the north.

Neoguri, which means "raccoon dog" in Korean, was moving northwards at 15km/h packing sustained winds of 108km/h by evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The main airport on Okinawa, Naha, reopened yesterday, although some morning flights were cancelled. Spokesman Takumi Higa said no damage had been reported.

Airports in Kyushu were still open, but late flights were cancelled, and additional cancellations may be in the works.

Japan Airlines, the nation's flagship carrier, cancelled 11 flights yesterday, mostly leaving Tokyo for Kyushu.