Powerful typhoon slams into Japan

Thursday, October 8, 2009

TOKYO -- A powerful typhoon slammed into Japan early today, causing widespread damage and flooding as it swept across the country. One man died and several were reported injured from the storm.

Typhoon Melor hit the country's main island early Thursday morning with strong winds. Heavy rains flooded roads and homes, toppled trees and power lines, and heavily damaged some buildings.

Hiroshi Kitahara, 54, was killed as he delivered newspapers early in the morning when his motorbike hit a tree felled by the storm in the coastal prefecture of Wakayama, a local police spokesman said. The spokesman would not provide his name, citing department policy.

Elsewhere, the storm ripped roofs off of buildings and toppled large trucks on highways as it moved northeast.

News broadcasts showed cars submerged by flooding and rivers overflowing their banks.

In teeming Tokyo, train operators delayed or canceled service on many lines, stranding commuters across the city during the busy morning rush hour. Over 200 flights at the city's airports were also canceled, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The storm weakened slightly as it moved northward, and this morning had winds of about 90 miles per hour, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency. It was due to stay over parts of the country through Friday.

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