The authorities of Japan activated today an unusual maximum alert for rains at the approach of the powerful Typhoon Hagibis, which before leaving land had already left one dead, several injured and serious material damage from hurricane winds.
Hagibis, the nineteenth typhoon of the season in the Pacific, is listed as "very strong", the second highest intensity category of the national meteorological agency (JMA), which warned that the rains could reach those thrown in 1958 by the typhoon Ida, which left more than 12,000 dead and missing.
In an unusual movement, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) activated the maximum alert level 5 for rains "with an intensity observed once every several decades" in 12 prefectures of the center and east of the country: Shizuoka, Kanagawa, Tokyo, Saitama , Gunma, Yamanashi, Nagano, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Niigata, Fukishima and Miyagi.
This alert level is rarely activated and with it urges residents of areas close to the banks of rivers or the sea to take refuge in safe places or on the second or upper floors of the buildings due to the high risk of flooding. .
The authorities have warned that the intense rains that are registered from the first hour of the day due to the great extension of the typhoon (its diameter is almost half the length of the archipelago) have caused the river flow to exceed the risk levels in several Cities and residential areas have been affected.
Rivers at risk of overflow
At least 10 rivers in the country, two in Tokyo, are at risk of overflow, there are dams in Saitama and Tochigi to the limit of their capacity and sea level rises of up to 2.5 meters are expected in some areas of the bay of the capital, according to data collected by the public chain NHK.
At 20:00 local time (11:00 GMT), the authorities had issued evacuation orders for more than one million people and evacuation recommendations for another 8 million.
According to the electricity supplier Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) there are more than 150,000 homes without electricity in the capital alone.
The typhoon travels 35 kilometers north-northeast After touching land on the Izu Peninsula shortly before 7 pm, it is expected that at midnight it has already crossed Tokyo.
Early in the day, Hagibis was already wreaking havoc in the neighboring prefecture of Chiba, east of the Japanese capital.
In the city of Ichihara, the storm caused the formation of a tornado that uprooted part of the roofs of at least ten homes and collapsed another. Five people were slightly injured, including three children.
The authorities are trying to determine if this phenomenon was also responsible for the overturning of the car of a man in his 50s who was transferred to a hospital and subsequently died, which would be the first known mortal victim of the storm.
Chiba still resents the passage in September of Typhoon Faxai, which caused significant power cuts and material damage, so the authorities hope that with his current Hagibis trajectory he will leave more damage in that region.
The firefighters of the city of Gotenba, in Shizuoka, they reported that two people were dragged by the flow of a river. One was rescued but the other is missing.
In total, there are four so far missing persons that are recorded, two in Shizuoka and two in Gunma, although the figures could increase in the next few hours, given that the night makes damage assessment work difficult. In addition to the deceased, there are more than 50 people injured throughout the country, according to NHK.
Winds over 210 k / h
Precipitation could exceed 1,000 millimeters per square meter until midnight in the central Tokai region, and 600 millimeters in Kanto, which includes the Tokyo area.
Only in the city of Hakone, known for its hot springs, rainfall of more than 700 millimeters is expected in 48 hours. It is also expected that landslides and accidents resulting from the detachment or displacement of objects by hurricane winds carried by Hagibis will occur.
The typhoon, which drags wind gusts of more than 210 kilometers per hour, has caused the suspension of almost all flights departing or arriving in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka area, and rail transport in the capital area was totally suspended. progressively until noon on Sunday.