Bodies found in nursing home as Typhoon Lionrock hits Japan

IWAIZUMI , Japan, Aug. 31 (UPI) — At least 11 people died, nine in a nursing home, and three are missing after Typhoon Lionrock struck northern Japan.

The storm made landfall on the eastern coast of Japan’s main island Tuesday, then went northward with maximum sustained winds of 67 mph. Rivers overflowed and evacuation advisories for more than 400,000 people were issued.

The nine deaths, at a nursing home for elderly dementia patients in Iwaizumi, Iwate prefecture, occurred as the adjacent Omoto River overflowed its banks. The municipal government offered no flood warning for the river, which rose from a depth of 10.5 feet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, overflowed its banks an hour later, and eventually reached 21.6 feet.

Three other missing people in Hokkaido Prefecture are believed to have been swept away in rivers, one as his car was engulfed by an overflowing river in the city of Taiki.

Schools were closed, more than 100 scheduled airline flights and high-speed train services were canceled and many businesses, including a Toyota manufacturing plant, suspended operations. Blackouts of electrical power were also reported across the region.

The region is still recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which prompted the failure of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The typhoon took a slow and varying path across the Pacific Ocean before it struck Japan’s eastern coast, headed south and then reversed its path, traveling northward and then northwest onto land. It is the first to hit northeastern Japan since records began in 1951, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported.

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