Typhoon Jongdari: Powerful storm hits weather-ravaged Japan

A powerful storm has hit Japan, bringing torrential rain and winds of up to 180km/h (110mph).

Typhoon Jongdari (or “skylark” in Korean) made landfall on the country’s main island, Honshu, at 01:00 (16:00 GMT) on Sunday.

Weather officials have since downgraded it to a tropical storm, but warn that heavy rain could trigger landslides.

The storm comes less than a month after floods killed more than 200 people, and then a heatwave left dozens dead.

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reports that 150,000 homes are without power and 16 people have been injured.

Earlier, evacuation orders were issued to 36,400 people in the western city of Shobara, and 6,300 in the city of Kure.

“We are afraid that people may not be able to evacuate due to strong wind or floods blocking evacuation routes,” said Hiroshima’s governor, Hidehiko Yuzaki.

“I would like people to evacuate in advance so that they can save their lives.”

‘Double punch’

More than eight million people were ordered to leave their homes earlier in July when torrential rain saw rivers burst their banks, but some became trapped after failing to heed the order. Critics said the official warning came too late.

The prefectures worst hit by flooding were Okayama, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, in the Chugoku region, and more than 4,000 survivors are still living in temporary shelters there.

“We are fully ready 24 hours a day to evacuate residents,” Tadahiko Mizushima, an official in Okayama, told the AFP news agency on Saturday.

“We are paying special attention to the areas where restoration of river banks is under way as it would be the first heavy rain since the disaster.”

“It’s going to deal a double punch,” one Okayama man told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. “We are seriously worried.”

Images show huge waves crashing onto rocks off the coast south-west of Tokyo, and ferry services have been suspended.

Hundreds of flights were also cancelled over the weekend as the storm neared the coast.

The floods earlier in July were Japan’s worst weather disaster in decades, and were swiftly followed by an unprecedented heatwave which has been declared a natural disaster.

At least 80 people have been killed by the temperature, and more than 22,000 hospitalised with heat stroke.

The country is now in the grip of typhoon season, which sees tropical storms barrel across the Pacific throughout the summer months.

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