Typhoon Wipha Hits Tokyo, At Least 17 Killed


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Typhoon Wipha reached the Tokyo area Wednesday, and at least 17 people have died, with another 50 missing.

An official from Oshima, a small island 75 miles south of Tokyo, reported that the majority of the casualties came from flooding and landslides due to heavy rain. Rescuers were unable to reach people in some of the areas hit by torrential downpours. Oshima reported 32.44 inches of rain from the storm, in less than 24 hours.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported that blackouts have affected more than 56,000 households. TEPCO, the main electricity supplier in Tokyo and central Japan, which has been struggling to deal with a series of leaks at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said that staff at the plant were "on vigil," and that accumulated rainwater had been purged from storage tanks.

The Fukushima plant recently leaked roughly 430 liters of radioactive water into the ocean, due to an overflow in a container from a previous tropical depression. The added Wipha rainwater has been keeping technicians on edge.

In related news, after the 2011 Fukushima meltdown, Namie-machi, a small city in the Fukushima Prefecture in the radiation exclusion zone, remains uninhabited. Google was still able to get in there to photograph the place for its Google Maps Street View. The place is still a ghost town:


Typhoon Wipha is moving north along the Pacific coast of Japan, and is expected to reach the northernmost island of Hokkaido by late Wednesday. Over 500 international and domestic flights were cancelled at the Narita and Haneda airports, and the national railroad operator stopped train services in central and northern Japan.

Wipha is the eighth typhoon of 2013, and the 26th named tropical cyclone of the year, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.