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Typhoon Talas leaves at least 18 dead in Japan


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Typhoon Talas leaves at least 18 dead in Japan

2011-09-04 23:28:35 GMT+7 (ICT)

TOKYO (BNO NEWS) -- At least 18 people have been killed and more than 50 are missing after powerful Typhoon Talas pounded western Japan with heavy rains and high winds, local media reported on Sunday.

The storm brought heavy rain and winds of up to 144 km/h (89 mph) near its center after making landfall on Shikoku island on Saturday. Rainfall topped 1,150 millimeters (45 inches) during a 72-hour period in a village in Nara Prefecture, the highest precipitation on record there, according to the Kyodo news agency.

The dead include ten in Wakayama Prefecture and another five in Nara Prefecture, where a 67-year-old died when a nearby river flooded ten houses. In Hiroshima Prefecture, the body of a 90-year-old was found after he went missing on Saturday when he went out to secure his boat.

In Tokushima Prefecture, the body of a 75-year-old was found on a riverbank after she was swept away early Saturday morning while on her way to an evacuation center near her home. In Nara, seven went missing after two houses were washed away by a muddy stream. A 36-year-old was rescued from the area but later died at a local hospital, Kyodo reported.

In Wakayama Prefecture, a landslide destroyed six houses and left three women and two high school boys missing. Thirteen people went also missing in the same prefecture, according to local police.

Local authorities warned that the figures could rise when rescue efforts, which were disrupted by damaged roads and other factors, resume.

The storm also caused blackouts that affected thousands of people, while train services were suspended in some areas. The typhoon also disrupted air traffic centering on western Japan, causing more than 400 domestic and 20 international flights to be canceled Saturday, according to the airlines.

After making its way across western Japan overnight, the typhoon has now moved into the Sea of Japan. However, the country's Meteorological Agency still called for vigilance since the slow-moving typhoon could bring heavy rains and possibly cause more mudslides and flooding.

As of 1500 GMT Sunday, the center of Talas was located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of the Oki Islands, a group of islands about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Honshu. It is moving toward the north at a speed of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) per hour, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Talas had maximum sustained winds near 45 miles (72 kilometers) on Sunday afternoon, making it a tropical storm. Some slight strengthening is forecast through Monday.

Talas is the 12th named storm, the 7th severe tropical storm and the 5th typhoon of the 2011 Pacific typhoon season. The season runs throughout 2011, with most tropical cyclones forming between May and November.

In July, the City University of Hong Kong predicted a total number of 31 tropical cyclones to form in the western North Pacific, of which 27 would become tropical storms and 17 which would further grow into a typhoon.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-09-04

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