Typhoon “Jebi” – The strongest typhoon to make landfall in mainland Japan since 1993 leaves 1.6 million without power, 9 dead and 300 injured

Typhoon “Jebi” slammed into western Japan on September 4, 2018, killing at least 9 people and injuring more than 300. This is the fourth typhoon to strike Japan this year and the first categorized as ‘very strong’ to make landfall in mainland Japan in 25 years.

Jebi made its first landfall in the southern part of Tokushima Prefecture around 03:00 UTC (12:00 JST), September 4 with sustained winds of over 160 km/h (100 mph), making it the strongest typhoon to hit mainland Japan since Typhoon “Nancy” in 1993. The second landfall took place in Hyogo Prefecture, just east of Kobe, around 05:00 UTC (14:00 JST).

The typhoon left a trail of destruction, killed at least 9 people and injured more than 300 others, as of 18:00 UTC, September 4.

1.61 million customers in Fukui, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Wakayama prefectures were left without power, in addition to 95 000 in Shikoku region, the Japan Times reports. Osaka reported wind gusts over 200 km/h (125 mph), the strongest to hit the city since 1961.

More than 700 local and international flights across western and central Japan were canceled, affecting nearly 60 000 people. Railway operators also halted some services, including on the Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen lines.

A number of trucks were tipped over by the wind on the Meishin Expressway in Shiga Prefecture, causing road closure. Another truck was nearly blown off a bridge connecting Shikoku island and the main island of Honshu, the Kyodo reports.

In Nishinomiya, a Hyogo Prefecture city near Kobe, more than 100 cars caught fire after waves inundated a yard for a car auctioneer, according to the local fire department.

Strong winds swept away a tanker berthed in Osaka Bay, slamming it into the sole bridge that connects the Kansai International Airport to the mainland and taking a large chunk out of the bridge. There were 11 crew members on board, but none were injured. The event left about 5 000 people stranded at the airport, one of the country’s main travel hubs. Airport officials said they will inspect the bridge on Wednesday morning and if no problems are found, transport the passengers by bus. 

The airport was closed before the incident due to heavy flooding and is not expected to reopen at least until Wednesday evening. Weather station installed on the airport registered gusts of up to 209 km/h (129.8 mph). 

Up to 500 mm (19.68 inches) of rain was forecast to fall in central Japan and up to 400 mm (15.7 inches) in the country’s west in the 24-hour period ending 06:00 JST, September 5.

According to weather officials, Jebi became the first typhoon categorized “very strong” by JMA to make landfall on Japan’s main islands since 1993 when a powerful Typhoon “Nancy” left 48 people dead or missing.

Featured image credit: Kyodo

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