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Tropical Storm Halong Update: 500,000 People Evacuated in Japan

By Eric Zerkel
Published: August 10, 2014

Tropical Storm Halong made landfall in Japan near Aki city, Kōchi Prefecture, just after 6 a.m. local time on Sunday. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a rare emergency weather warning for Mie prefecture as Halong dumped record-rainfall on Japan and forced the evacuations of half a million people.

That warning prompted the evacuations of some 500,000 people in two towns in Mie prefecture as at least 17 inches of rain were recorded during a 24 hour period in the town of Hakusan, according to weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen. 

The storm also disrupted land traffic and injured at several people as Japan began its annual "Obon" Buddhist holiday week. Six people were injured in Miyazaki prefecture from strong winds as the storm grazed the southern portion of Japan, including an elderly woman who broke her ankle after a portable toilet blew over onto her, the Associated Press reports.

More than 400 flights were canceled due to the storm, stranding thousands of holidaymakers at airports around the country.

(MORE: Tropical Storm Halong Forecast)

The storm, packing winds of up to 100 kilometers (60 miles) per hour, was expected to dump 70 centimeters (28 inches) of rain on Shikoku, and 50-60 centimeters (20-25 inches) in western and central Japan, meteorological agency official Satoshi Ebihara said at a news conference Saturday. He warned of landslides and floods in those areas.

The agency predicted heavy rain in Tokyo on Sunday.

Some areas of Japan have already experienced up to 54.67 inches of rain since the start of August in the wake of Tropical Storm Nakri, an all-time record, prompting concerns that river banks could burst.

Wind gusts up to 106 mph were measured in Japan's Daito Islands Thursday, but sustained winds have weakened considerably down to around 70 mph.

The storm slowed down as it made landfall over Shikoku Island and was on track to move out into the Sea of Japan later Sunday. It was forecast to further lose strength in the next 12 hours.

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