TOKYO, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) — Typhoon Lionrock, the 10th of the season to hit Japan, made landfall in the northeast of the country on Tuesday evening, causing municipalities in the area to issue extensive evacuation orders, the weather agency here said.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the typhoon had become a severe tropical storm as of 7 p.m. local time and was the first to directly hit the Tohoku region in Japan's northeast since record keeping began.
The weather agency said that as of 8 p.m., the typhoon was located around 40 km east of Hirosaki, in Aomori Prefecture, and was moving northwest at a speed of 55 km per hour, with wind speed registering more than 100 km per hour at the storm's center, with an atmospheric pressure of 970 hectopascals.
Around 410,000 people across Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures have been issues evacuation advisories, owing to possible landslides triggered by torrential downpours, flooding, and due to high coastal waves, the weather agency said.
Local media reported that as the typhoon lashed regions already devastated by the 2011 earthquake-triggered tsunami, evacuation orders were given to more than 600 people still living in temporary shelters almost five and a half years after the 2011 triple disasters.
Earlier in the day work was preemptively suspended at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), saying that measures to prevent rising contaminated groundwater from flowing into the Pacific Ocean had been taken, with work also being halted at the plant's port in the region.
The typhoon has also caused major disruption to local transportation networks, with more than 100 flights scheduled to and from airports in Tohoku and Hokkaido being canceled, as well as ferry services in the east and northeast regions of the country.
Tohoku Electric Power Co. said that 35,000 homes in the Tohoku region were without electricity this evening, due to the powerful storm, and Shinkansen bullet train services have also been suspended along routes affected by the typhoon, local operators said Tuesday.
Rainfall of as much as 250 millimeters is expected through noon on Wednesday in the Tohoku region, with the JMA also stating that Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefecture, could see downpours reaching 100 mm, with warnings in place for floods and landslides.
The JMA said that as of 9 p.m. the typhoon was making its way from southwest of Hakodate in Hokkaido and moving in a northwesterly direction at a speed of 75 km per hour with gusts of up to 162 kph.