TOKYO - A powerful typhoon slammed into Japan yesterday, halting trains and leaving 13 people dead or missing in south-central regions before grazing a crippled nuclear plant and heaping rain on the tsunami-ravaged northeast.
Officials at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where engineers are still struggling with small radiation leaks due to tsunami damage, expressed relief that Typhoon Roke’s driving winds and rain caused no immediate problems there other than a broken security camera.
But the typhoon brought new misery to the northeastern region already slammed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, dumping up to 17 inches of rain in some areas.
Authorities warned of a high risk of mudslides in that region. Hundreds of tsunami survivors in government shelters in the Miyagi state town of Onagawa were forced to evacuate for fear of flooding.
More than 200,000 households in central Japan were without electricity late yesterday. Police and local media reported 13 people dead or missing in southern and central regions, many of them believed swept away by rivers swollen with rains.
The storm, packing sustained winds of up to 100 miles per hour, made landfall in the early afternoon near the city of Hamamatsu, about 125 miles west of Tokyo. The fast-moving storm went past the capital in the evening and then headed up into the northeast, where it was losing strength.