“Unprecedented scale”: Super Typhoon Hagibis hits Japan, millions evacuated

Typhoon Hagibis has already created severe flooding in Tokyo.
Typhoon Hagibis has already created severe flooding in Tokyo.
Image: Kyodo via Reuters
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Super Typhoon Hagibis hit Japan today (Oct. 12), and millions of citizens in the Tokyo area and beyond have been ordered to evacuate their homes. Amid heavy rains, flooding, and life-threatening winds, at least two people are already dead, and more than 75 have been injured, including two children hurt in a tornado created by the extreme weather.

“A typhoon of an unprecedented scale is about to hit Kanto. I’d like you to take actions to protect your own life,” Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said in an emergency news conference reported by the Japan Times, referring to the region that includes the capital.

The national meteorological agency issued a Level Five special warning for heavy rain, which is the highest number on its warning scale. Throughout the day, the agency urged residents in 12 prefectures, including Tokyo, to find a secure building or evacuate lower floors to avoid flooding. It said that the typhoon was bringing downpours “with a level of intensity observed only once every few decades,” according to Nikkei Asian Review.

About 64,000 homes in the Tokyo area were reported to be without power in the afternoon as local convenience stores and restaurants remained closed. The national defense ministry says it has ordered 17,000 personnel of the Self-Defense Forces to prepare for immediate deployment to rescue operations. Meanwhile, the country’s trains have mostly stopped running and many planes are not flying, with more than 1,600 flights grounded.

The typhoon has also disrupted the Rugby World Cup, now underway in Japan and never before held in Asia. Two matches scheduled for today were nixed, and organizers warned of possible cancellations tomorrow, too. Meanwhile, the Disneyland and DisneySea theme parks in Tokyo declared their first-ever all-day closures.