Two dead as strongest typhoon in quarter century batters Japan

TOKYO: The strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years made landfall on Tuesday, killing two and injuring dozens, as it battered the west of the country with violent winds and heavy rainfall.
The strong gusts ripped sheeting from rooftops, toppled trucks on bridges and swept a tanker anchored in Osaka bay into a nearby bridge running to the Kansai International Airport.
High waves whipped up by the storm also flooded parts of the seaside airport, where all flights were cancelled, and the severe weather caused power outages and travel chaos across much of the country.
Typhoon Jebi made landfall around noon local time, slamming into the west of the country packing winds of up to 216 kilometres (135 miles) per hour.
The fast-moving storm quickly crossed the country, and by nightfall was on the verge of leaving land and heading out to sea from Ishikawa in central Japan.
Local media reported two deaths in the storm, including a 71-year-old man killed in western Shiga prefecture after being trapped under a warehouse that collapsed in strong wind.
Public broadcaster NHK said 97 people had been injured across the storm’s path, none of them seriously.
In Osaka, television footage showed a large tanker that smashed into the bridge connecting the city of Izumisano with Kansai Airport, with the top part of the ship knocking away a part of the bridge. There were no reports of injuries.
The airport was closed after runways and parts of its basement were flooded by high waves, a transport ministry official confirmed.
NHK also showed footage of a 100-metre tall ferris wheel in Osaka turning furiously in the strong wind despite being switched off.
“I’m surprised that the switched-off ferris wheel began to move with the strong wind. I’ve never seen such a thing,” a 19-year-old boy at the scene told the public broadcaster.
Elsewhere, the winds whipped away part of the ceiling from Kyoto station and peeled off multi-storey scaffolding attached to a building in Osaka. Local media said more than a million households were left without power by the storm, and evacuation advisories were issued for nearly 1.2 million people, though only another 16,000 were under stronger — though still not mandatory — evacuation orders.
Arriving on land, Jebi had winds of up to 162 kilometres per hour at its centre, making it a “very strong” typhoon, the weather agency’s chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora said. — AFP