Tuesday, October 13, 2015

'Super typhoon' Dujuan was swirling towards Taiwan Monday with thousands of people evacuated from outlying islands as the storm gathered strength on its approach. Torrential rains and high winds are predicted across Taiwan from Monday afternoon as Dujuan nears the east coast, with landfall predicted around 11:00 pm.

Taiwan's weather bureau upgraded Dujuan to a "strong typhoon" Sunday it's top category. Other regional weather bureaus, including the Hong Kong Observatory, categorised it as a "super typhoon" as it intensified to reach gusts of 227 kilometres (141 miles) per hour.

The whole of the island should heighten vigilance against severe winds and torrential rains." Almost 3,000 people, most of them tourists, were evacuated Sunday from Taiwan's Green Island and Orchid Island popular with visitors.

Authorities said Monday they were planning more possible evacuations as they assessed the impact of heavy rains. Taiwan's aboriginal mountain communities are particularly at risk during typhoons, often hit by flooding and mudslides. Some are still cleaning up after Typhoon Soudelor left a trail of destruction last month.

"A massive amount of rubble caused by the last typhoon is still seen on slopes and river beds. This may cause further damage," the weather bureau said. More than 24,000 troops are on standby for disaster relief and evacuations, with 100 shelters set up. Emergency response centres have been established in the north and east.

The storm threatens long-weekend plans for many as Taiwan celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival. A concert by US rock band Bon Jovi due to take place in Taipei Monday was cancelled. High speed rail was due to be suspended mid-afternoon.

Ferry services to outlying islands have already been suspended and flights to and from the islands will stop from noon. Dujuan will pass near the Japanese island of Ishigaki as it approaches Taiwan. Japan's meteorological agency has warned it could trigger waves 13 metres (42 feet) high. The storm is on course to hit mainland China from Tuesday, but is forecast to have weakened.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Two men, ages 71 and 51, were found dead in rice fields flooded by the levee breach in Joso, according to public broadcaster NHK. The men were not previously among the list of missing. Seven people are now confirmed dead and 15 remain missing in the wake of torrential rains associated with former Tropical Storm Etau that dumped unprecedented rainfall on parts of eastern and northern Japan Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Local officials in Ibaraki Prefecture said 1,344 people had been rescued via helicopter by the country's Self-Defence Force and rescuers from 10 of the country's 47 prefectures. The threat of rain largely failed to materialize Sunday in the Greater Tokyo area, giving search and rescue teams a few more days of favorable weather to look for the 15 missing in Joso, a city in Ibaraki Prefecture about 30 miles northeast of downtown Tokyo. However, rain is in the forecast later this week across much of Japan.

In addition to the flooded homes, seven dwellings have been destroyed and 23 partially damaged according to the FDMA. Dramatic helicopter rescues unfolded on live television in Japan on Thursday as water breached that levee, leaving scores of residents trapped on the roofs or upper floors of their homes.The Japanese government's Fire and Disaster Management Agency confirmed that a man found dead in a flooded vehicle in Tochigi Prefecture Sunday morning died of storm-related causes.