The powerful storm continues to do significant damage as it makes its way north, and Neoguri-related weather effects have killed at least five and wounded dozens. Residents in the Tokyo area will be hit by the storm by Friday morning.
Following its tear through the Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa earlier in the week, tropical storm Neoguri (it was downgraded from typhoon status on Wednesday) continues to move north, weaker in force but still packing enough of a punch to cause mudslides and floods. Even areas not directly inside the storm radius itself were subject to the storm’s influence: torrential rains brought on by the humid air have inundated more than 500 homes, according to NHK.
Late Wednesday, a mudslide in Nagano Prefecture brought on by heavy rains from Neoguri, demolished a house and killed a 12-year-old boy. His mother and two siblings were also pulled out of the wreckage and survived. An 83-year-old man in Fukushima fell into rushing river and drowned, while two fishermen, one from Kyushu and another from Shikoku have died. The body of an elderly man was found in an irrigation ditch in Kyushu on Thursday morning.
The storm made landfall on Kyushu on Thursday morning and is moving north and east at approximately 25 kph (about 15.5 mph). Neoguri is still packing wind gusts of up to 126 kph (80mph), and local and regional authorities will be scrambling to ensure the safety of residents in Neoguri’s path. It is expected to reach the Tokyo area very early Friday morning, local time, and may disrupt morning commutes.
Of greater concern is the beleaguered nuclear plant in Fukushima, where workers have been struggling to contain large quantities of contaminated water. As a plant spokesman said, “We are tying up cables and hoses… and making sure cranes and booms don’t fall. We will also beef up patrols in areas where water could flow in.”
Image: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr