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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

Typhoon Roke Lashes Japan With 100 MPH Winds

Typhoon Roke made landfall early this morning, bringing 100 mph winds to central Japan and moving northeast to an area already devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck in March.

Reuters reports on the typhoon's impact:

A powerful typhoon struck Japan on Wednesday, killing six people, disrupting public transportation and pummeling Tokyo and northeastern Japan including the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant with heavy rain, officials and media said.

Typhoon Roke, the second big storm to hit Japan this month, was packing winds of up to 180 km per hour (110 miles per hour) at its centre and dumped more than 30 cm (12 inches) of rain in parts of northeastern Japan over the past 24 hours, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Just as the storm made landfall, Japan was also struck by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake that was deep and caused no damage. CNN reports that officials are worried that as the typhoon moves northeast, it could affect the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant:

TEPCO officials said they had outdoor construction canceled at the plant. There were also concerns about whether a strong downpour could wash radiation-contaminated waters out of the plant.

At one point before the storm made landfall, about 1 million people were urged to evacuate from vulnerable areas as heavy rain pounded central and western Japan.

NHK, Japan's international broadcaster, reports that the 1,000 homes are flooded and 89,000 are without power. Hachioji City, Tokyo experienced winds of close to 100 mph.

Roke is now a tropical storm, and moving just offshore of northeast Japan.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.