'Once in decades storm' wreaking havoc in Japan


'Once in decades storm' wreaking havoc in Japan

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Jul 8, 2014

At least one person has died after a powerful typhoon hit Japan.

Typhoon Neoguri has weakened from its original status as a super typhoon, but it is still packing a lot of punch. Japanese forecasters are calling it a "once in decades storm."

Hundreds of flights have been canceled in Japan and more than 500,000 people have been urged to evacuate, according to Weather.com.

Typhoon Neoguri was at its most powerful when it passed through Okinawa on Tuesday. More than 50,000 people in Okinawa lost power and an oil refinery halted operations, according to Reuters. Okinawa is located in the Ryukya Island chain in the far southern part of Japan.

A man was killed after his boat was swamped by high waves near the island of Kyushu, and several other injuries have been reported.

Kadena Air Base, the U.S. military installation on the island of Okinawa, measured a peak wind gust of 101 mph on Tuesday. Sustained winds were as high as 74 mph. The base canceled all outdoor activities on Tuesday.

The typhoon is now headed towards Kyushu, which is the home of two nuclear power plants. There is also a plant on Shikoku island, which is near Kyushu. All of Japan's plants have been shut down as a precaution according to national policy. The policy was put in place after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Officials say that the slow-moving storm will maintain its strength initially as it heads north. It will gradually turn east and is expected to come close to Toyko on the mainland on Friday. By then, it is expected to be much weaker and Tokyo will most likely only see heavy rain.

Typhoon Neoguri is the strongest typhoon so far in the 2014 Western Pacific season.

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani, who is based in Las Vegas at KTNV-TV Channel 13, is a contributor to NowTrending.com.