People queue at a bus terminal in Chiba, near Tokyo, Japan, 08 September 2023. EFE-EPA/EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Tropical storm causes heavy rain, flooding in eastern Japan

Tokyo, Sep 8 (EFE).- Tokyo and its surrounding areas were being lashed by heavy rains and powerful winds on Friday as tropical storm Yon-yeung made its way through central and eastern Japan.

People walk under heavy rainfall generated by tropical storm Yun-yeung in Chiba, near Tokyo, Japan, 08 September 2023. EFE-EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

Heavy rains have already caused flooding and disrupted public transport in some areas of the country.

As of 3:45 pm on Friday, Yun-yeung, the thirteenth storm of the ongoing Pacific season, was situated less than 200 kilometers south of Iwata in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Earlier in the day, the storm had been ominously heading north towards Tokyo, as the city experienced constant rains since the morning. However, it has since slowed down and was expected to become a tropical depression later on Friday.

People walk under heavy rainfall generated by tropical storm Yun-yeung in Chiba, near Tokyo, Japan, 08 September 2023. EFE-EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON

The heavy downpour has mainly affected the central region of the archipelago, particularly Tokyo and the neighboring Chiba prefecture to the east, where a record-breaking rainfall, equivalent to a month’s worth, was recorded in just 12 hours, triggering floods and landslides.

In Chiba’s Mobara city, rainfall touched 371 millimeters in just half a day, while Otaka and Kamogawa recorded 328 and 294.5 mm of rain respectively, the highest amount since records began in the province, according to state broadcaster NHK.

The rising waters on streets have submerged several cars, but no fatalities were reported as drivers were able to get to safety.

By 3 pm, at least four rivers in Chiba had overflowed, but details of the exact damage caused by them were not available.

In Saitama prefecture, north of Tokyo, an elderly man suffered minor injuries after being knocked down by strong winds.

Due to bad weather conditions, several train lines experienced delays or suspensions, and several sections of at least five highways were temporarily closed, top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno said in a press conference.

He said nearly 10,000 households faced temporary power outages, but authorities were able to restore the electricity within a few hours.

The storm forced the cancellation of at least 32 local flights, but in general, public transport continued to operate without major disruptions.

The JR East train company also temporarily suspended some sections in northern Japan.

Authorities have issued warnings over possible strong winds, floods, and landslides.

However, the JMA forecast that the storm would weaken in the next few hours into a tropical depression, with reduced impact and consequences. EFE