Powerful typhoon slams into Japan

A powerful typhoon slammed into Japan on Thursday, damaging buildings and roads, halting train service and canceling hundreds of flights as it swept across the country. One man died and dozens were reported injured.

Typhoon Melor hit the country's main island early Thursday with strong winds. The storm flooded roads and homes, toppled trees and power lines and heavily damaged some buildings.

Hiroshi Kitahara, 54, was killed as he delivered newspapers early in the morning when his motorbike hit a tree felled by the storm in the coastal prefecture of Wakayama, a local police spokesman said. The spokesman would not provide his name, citing department policy.

Elsewhere, the storm smashed walls and windows, damaged buildings and toppled large trucks on highways as it moved northeast. News broadcasts showed partially submerged cars and bridges destroyed by the flooding.

A van passes by strong waves striking barriers in Shizuoka City, west of Tokyo October 8, 2009.

In teeming Tokyo, train operators delayed or canceled service on many lines, stranding commuters across the city during the busy morning rush hour. Service on all major overland lines was suspended Thursday morning, according to operator East Japan Railway Co. Strong winds forced some trains to stop midway between stations and offload passengers.

The usually punctual subways were running intermittently, according to Tokyo Metro Co.

Hundreds of domestic flights and several international flights at the city's airports were also canceled, according to public broadcaster NHK.

At about 11:00 am local time (0200 GMT) the storm was over Gunma Prefecture in central Japan, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northwest of Tokyo. It was moving north at about 30 miles (50 kilometers) per hour, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency.

Winds were blowing at about 70 miles (110 kilometers) per hour, with gusts up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour.

The typhoon weakened slightly as it moved along the country's main island, and it was due to veer off the eastern coast Thursday evening.

source AFP

Other news