Two Die As Typhoon Pabuk Packs A Powerful Punch in Japan

Tuesday, August 21, 2001
Powerful Typhoon Pabuk, packing winds of up to 79 mph, ploughed into Japan on Tuesday, killing two people, snarling air, sea and rail traffic and forcing Universal Studios to close its theme park.

The typhoon landed at around 7:00 p.m. in the western prefecture of Wakayama, becoming the first typhoon to hit Japan's main island of Honshu in two years, the Meteorological Agency said.

Local officials issued evacuation recommendations for 7,000 Wakayama residents as the storm pounded the district.

The agency warned that Pabuk - a Laotian word for a large, freshwater fish - could make a direct strike on central Japan, near Tokyo, early Wednesday and then pound its way north through Honshu. It was moving at about 20 kph (12.5 mph).

A railway worker was electrocuted while removing branches from an overhead train cable, police said.

A 66-year-old man died when he fell from the roof of a ceramics factory in central Aichi, a police spokesman said. He was cleaning a gutter to prepare for the typhoon.

Kyodo news agency said 16 people were injured, most knocked down by the powerful winds. "We believe it will maintain its current strength as it moves northward," a Meteorological Agency official said.

The storm had whipped up high waves along the coast and heavy rains across much of Honshu, and it was expected to dump up to 12 inches of rain in some areas of southwestern and central Japan, while 6-8 inches were forecast for the area surrounding the western city of Osaka, Japan's second-largest metropolitan area.

The storm forced cancellations of at least 30 international flights including Continental Airlines flights bound for Guam and Saipan from Nagoya in central Japan. In addition, many domestic ferries and all high-speed boats to the South Korean port of Pusan were cancelled. - (Reuters)

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