Strong typhoon hits Tokyo triggering transport chaos, power cuts

More than 130 flights were cancelled and scores of train lines were closed for hours, snarling the morning commute for millions in a greater Tokyo area that has a population of some 36 million, as authorities warned it was dangerous to venture outside.

Pedestrians walk past collapsed steel advertising boards caused by Typhoon Faxai in Tokyo. Kiyoshi Takenaka/Reuters

One of the strongest typhoons to hit Tokyo in recent years made landfall just east of Japan’s capital on Monday, bringing record-breaking winds and stinging rain.

Typhoon Faxai made landfall in the city of Chiba, just east of Tokyo, a little before dawn, bringing with it wind gusts of 207km/hour in Chiba, the strongest-ever recorded there, national broadcaster NHK said.

One woman was seriously injured after a metal pole from a golf course crashed onto her home, but there were no immediate reports of deaths.

Some 930,000 houses lost power at one point, NHK said, including the entire city of Kamogawa, east of Tokyo.

“I’ve never seen a situation like this, the entire city without power,” a city official was quoted as saying.

Between four and five typhoons hit Japan every year, but it is unusual for them to do so near Tokyo. NHK said Faxai was the strongest storm in the Tokyo area in several years.

Evacuations ordered

The storm had headed out to sea by mid-morning, but authorities warned heavy rain was likely to continue for some hours.

Winds were occasionally strong enough to shake buildings in the neighbouring city of Ichikawa, as normally busy streets were deserted.

Metal signs were torn from the sides of buildings, trucks overturned, the metal roof of a petrol station torn off and glass display cases destroyed, scattering pavements with broken glass. Twenty-four hour fast food restaurants in central Tokyo closed, protecting their windows with plywood.

Some 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate because of the danger of landslides, NHK said, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.

Trees were uprooted throughout the metropolitan area, and parts of the Tokaido Shinkansen line were briefly halted but service resumed after several hours.

SOURCE: Reuters news agency

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