Typhoon Mindulle Batters Tokyo, Bringing Risk of Floods and Landslides

By Chris Cooper | August 22, 2016

Tokyo was pummeled by rain and winds as Mindulle became the first typhoon to make landfall near the metropolitan region in 11 years on Monday, bringing the risk of floods and landslides.

The typhoon’s center was estimated to have passed the Tokyo area as of 4 p.m. local time, heading north as its maximum gust speed declined, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Mindulle is the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane, the weakest on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.

A woman was feared dead in flooding in Kanagawa prefecture, while nine people were injured by the typhoon in incidents ranging from flying broken glass to being blown over, according to local media reports.

Narita airport temporarily shut down its runways as strong winds caused air-traffic controllers to evacuate the control tower. ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., the nation’s largest airlines, canceled a total of 337 domestic flights, affecting about 72,000 passengers, according to separate statements from the airlines. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said more than 100,000 homes had power outages as of 3:59 p.m., mostly in Chiba prefecture where the typhoon made landfall.

The weather agency issued heavy rain and flood warnings for most of eastern Japan, including all 23 wards of central Tokyo, while the Prime Minister’s Office warned of possible landslides and damage from strong waves. Nine rivers were at a dangerous risk of flooding, with some areas seeing record levels of rain, according to NHK.

Derailed Train

Trains were also affected, with Tokyo’s main loop line closed in one direction after a tree fell on the line at Harajuku station. East Japan Railway Co. also canceled dozens of other trains and Odakyu Electric Railway Co. halted routes between Tokyo and popular tourist destination Hakone. The Yamagata bullet train line was partially halted for the rest of Monday.

A passenger train in rural western Tokyo carrying six passengers was derailed due to a landslide, Jiji News reported. No injuries were reported.

Mindulle is the ninth typhoon of the season. Two other storms are hovering around the Japanese archipelago, with the 10th, Lionrock, tracking toward Okinawa and the 11th having weakened to an extra-tropical cyclone after passing over the northern island of Hokkaido Sunday night. Hokkaido is on alert for more landslides as Mindulle moves north.

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