Tornado Rips Japan, At Least 67 Injured
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | September 3, 2013 11:23 AM EST
In what was believed to be a rare occurrence for the country, a tornado has struck the Koshigaya city of Japan, ripping off the roofs of a number of houses and buildings as well as toppling down a number of structures. No casualties have been reported. At least 67 were injured.
The tornado disaster occurred at around 2 pm local time on Monday at Koshigaya, which is located 22 kilometres (13.6 miles) north of Tokyo. It wreaked havoc that covered a 14-kilometre (8.6-mile) range, extending to the town of Matsubushi and Noda city in neighboring Chiba prefecture.
Local authorities said it was Japan's worst tornado since May 2012, when the city of Tsukuba in eastern Ibaraki prefecture got ripped apart, killing a 14-year-old boy, injuring at least 52 others, and damaging approximately 890 buildings.
"Weather conditions in the region today have been very unstable," an unidentified meteorologist at Japan's weather agency as quoted by the AFP.
"In flatter parts of the region particularly, warm, wet air can come inland and spark tornados. This is especially the case when there is a typhoon developing in the south," he said.
The number of injured people in Koshigaya reached 66, including a 40-year-old man who suffered a skull fracture and an 82-year-old woman who broke her right leg. Six buildings were completely smashed while more than 80 structures were badly damaged.
In Noda city, only one was reportedly injured. Damaged were 27 vehicles and 68 houses.
At least 10 houses were severely damaged in Matsubushi. There were no reports of fatalities from the town.
More than 540 buildings were damaged in both prefectures, according to the Kyodo news agency, with some completely destroyed.
Power supply was likewise abruptly cut by strong winds and lightning, affecting 30,500 houses in the region, including 22,400 houses in Kasukabe and more than 4,000 houses in Koshigaya.
"Violent winds and lightning appear to be the causes, but we are still investigating," an unidentified official from the Tokyo Electric Power Co told Japan News. The firm said it will restore power back to homes and offices as soon as possible.
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