Storm locks down US military bases in Japan
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 22, 2016
(This story has been updated.)
Typhoon Mindulle battered eastern Japan on Monday, triggering floods, disrupting travel and keeping some U.S. military bases on lockdown before being downgraded to a tropical depression Tuesday morning.
Tokyo was expecting up to a foot of rain through Tuesday morning, with nearly 8 inches for Honshu and Hokkaido island to the north, according to Japanese national broadcaster NHK.
Mindulle made landfall south of Tokyo early Monday afternoon, the first typhoon to roar ashore in the metropolitan area in 16 years.
Narita International Airport shut down its runways for about an hour Monday afternoon as winds of up to 78 miles per hour forced air traffic controllers to evacuate the control tower, the Transport Ministry said.
It was the first time the tower had been closed because of a typhoon. It closed once before, because of shaking during the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that triggered a massive tsunami in March 2011.
At least 425 flights had been canceled nationwide as of midday Monday. More than 100 Japan Railway liners and express trains were canceled.
Parts of Shizuoka have already received nearly 14 inches. On Miyake island, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported a 93-mph wind gust.
Yokosuka Naval Base and its satellite facilities were being pounded by sustained winds of 58 mph or more, and all outdoor activity was prohibited.
Naval Air Facility Atsugi had winds of up 57 mph and severe flooding. Yokota Air Base’s Facebook page reported both north and south runway overruns were closed because of flooding. Camp Zama reported flooding from clogged drainage.
A landslide watch was in effect for parts of Tokyo and Kanagawa prefecture, and evacuation orders were issued for nearly 30,000 people in Machida, where Camp Zama is located. At least 15 rivers flooded in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said more than 100,000 homes suffered power outages as of late afternoon Monday, mostly in Chiba prefecture where the typhoon made landfall.
The weather agency warned of flooding for most of eastern Japan, including all 23 wards of central Tokyo. Nine rivers were at a dangerous risk of flooding, with some areas seeing record levels of rain, according to NHK.
Japanese television showed scattered damage around the region. A train on a small commuter line in western Tokyo had to be evacuated after the earth under the tracks gave way, leaving the tracks, train and overhead lines tilted, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported. No one was injured.
Mindulle is the ninth typhoon of the season. Two other storms are hovering around the Japanese archipelago, with the 10th, Lionrock, tracking toward Okinawa and the 11th having weakened to an extratropical cyclone after passing over the northern island of Hokkaido Sunday night.
Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island. is on alert for more landslides as Mindulle moves north.
An employee from the 374th Airlift Wing's civil engineering squadron inspects the drainage during a typhoon at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016. Tropical Storm Mindulle hit the Tokyo region of Japan with record levels of rainfall in the town of Mizuho, about three miles from the base.
JAMES KIMBER/STARS AND STRIPES