Cars are submerged in water as the area is flooded by torrential rains caused by powerful Typhoon Man-yi in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, western Japan, 16 September 2013. Photo: Associated PressBy Mari Yamaguchi
16 September 2013

TOKYO (AP) – A powerful typhoon lashed Japan with torrential rain Monday, leaving two dead as it damaged homes and flooded parts of the country's popular tourist destination of Kyoto, where 260,000 people were ordered to evacuate to shelters.

Typhoon Man-yi, packing wind speeds of 100 mph Monday night, was centered off the northern coast and heading to the northern main island of Hokkaido, dumping more heavy rain.

Trains in Tokyo and its vicinity were largely suspended and hundreds of flights were grounded. At Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, a janitor was hit by a fallen tree and seriously injured. Most transportation resumed in the area by Monday evening.

Dozens of people were injured. Police and disaster management officials said the body of a 72-year-old woman was dug out of the debris of her home, which was smashed by a mudslide the night before in Shiga Prefecture, east of Kyoto. A 77-year-old woman was found dead in a mudslide in Fukui Prefecture.

The Meteorological Agency said the storm dumped an "unprecedented" amount of rainfall in Kyoto and two neighboring prefectures it passed overnight, dumping as much as 3 inches per hour. It lifted a "special warning" for the area Monday but urged residents to stay alert.

In Kyoto, where the city's major Katsura River flooded, some 260,000 people in the prefectural capital alone were told to evacuate. Hundreds of thousands of others were also ordered to evacuate across Japan.

Aerial view of the Togetsukyo Bridge just above the Katsura River as the river flooded by torrential rains caused by  powerful Typhoon Man-yi, 16 September 2013. Photo: Associated PressTourists in Kyoto were taken to safety on boats towed by rescue workers on a flooded riverside street near the normally scenic Arashiyama area.

Water gushed into a nearby hotel, flooding the lobby and the kitchen, where it knocked down a big refrigerator.

"The water in the lobby was up to the waist. I just didn't know what to do when I saw that," hotel manager Makoto Hasegawa told public broadcaster NHK as he rinsed the hotel entrance with fresh water.

The government set up an emergency task force to assess damage and support rescue efforts, said Prime Minister's Office official Hikariko Ono. Kyoto and Shiga Prefecture asked the Defense Ministry to mobilize relief teams.

More than 100 people were injured across the country by Monday evening, NHK said, citing its own tally. A man was missing after he went to check fish traps in a river in Fukushima prefecture. A 41-year-old woman and her daughter, a fifth-grader, were missing in Mie, central Japan, apparently swept away by a swollen river.

Thousands of homes were flooded across Japan, according to NHK, and about 80,000 houses in the region were without electricity earlier Monday.

As a preventive step, workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, about 155 miles northeast of Tokyo, were pumping away rainwater that was pooling around hundreds of storage tanks containing radioactive water. [more]

Powerful typhoon lashes Japan; thousands evacuate

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