Rain batters Japan as storm makes landfall, three dead

miércoles 9 de julio de 2014 23:05 GYT

TOKYO, July 10 (Reuters) - Heavy rain battered a wide swathe of Japan on Thursday, sending rivers over their banks and setting off a landslide as a weakened but still dangerous storm made landfall and headed east, leaving three people dead.

Neoguri, which first threatened Japan as a super typhoon this week, had weakened to a tropical storm by the time it ploughed ashore on the westernmost main island of Kyushu. But it was still packing wind gusts of up to 126 kph (78 mph).

Heavy rains prompted the cancellation of hundreds of flights and trains and closed schools. The storm also fed into a stalled seasonal rain front, threatening flooding in distant regions.

A landslide sent mud and rock tumbling down a mountainside in the town of Nagiso in central Japan late on Wednesday, killing a 12-year-old boy and bringing to three the death toll from the storm.

"At first I thought it was an earthquake, then the house started filling with mud," one Nagiso resident told NHK national television. "I clung to a pillar with all my strength."

Some 50 people have been injured, many from falls.

There are two nuclear plants on Kyushu and one on Shikoku, which is also being hit by torrential rains, but there were no reports of anything unusual.

All of Japan's 48 nuclear reactors are shut down three years after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The stricken plant is on the other side of the country.

Neoguri was 70 km northeast of the city of Miyazaki at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) and moving east at 30 kph, with sustained winds of 90 kph.   Continuación...