Typhoon Roke Threatens Japan

Sep 21, 2011, 07:27 by R.E. Christian

Typhoon Roke, a powerful storm, threatened Japan's heavily populated Honshu Island Wednesday, just days after another destructive storm struck the country.

Heavy rains were lashing wide areas of central and western Japan ahead of Roke, which could unleash more destruction on a country recovering from the deadly havoc of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and this month's Typhoon Talas.

Kyodo News, quoting authorities, reported a boy and an elderly man had gone missing in Tuesday's heavy rains. The report said the bad weather had hit transportation networks.

In Nagoya, one of the country's major business hubs, municipal authorities had asked about 80,000 residents in 30,000 households in the city's Moriyama and Kita wards to evacuate. They issued voluntary evacuation instructions to another 1 million people, Kyodo reported.

Japan's meteorological agency warned Roke, accompanied by heavy rains and strong winds, could hit the largest island of Honshu later Wednesday and move across it, Kyodo reported. Tokyo is located in Honshu.

The agency urged "'the greatest possible vigilance.''

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, Roke, with top sustained winds of 134 mph, was located about 62 miles off Wakayama Prefecture and was heading north at 21 mph.

Meteorologists warned of heavy rains ahead of the storm through Wednesday, with amounts expected to top 3 inches per hour in some locations. Authorities also issued landslide warnings.

Fukushima Prefecture, which took the worst-hit during the March 11 earthquake-tsunami, is also located on Honshu in the northeast. The quake-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on the prefecture, which is fighting to contain radiation leaks since March, could be in Roke's path.

Typhoon Talas, Japan's deadliest storm in decades, killed or left missing dozens of people in mudslides and floods.

Source: UPI