Typhoon Melor tore through Japan's main island today, peeling roofs off houses, cutting electricity to hundreds of thousands and forcing flight cancellations before turning back toward the sea. Two men died, and dozens were injured. More than two million commuters in Tokyo were stranded for hours as train services on several lines was suspended, while in other regions trucks were toppled on highways and bridges were destroyed by flash floods. A man died when his motorbike slammed into a downed tree in the coastal prefecture of Wakayama, and another was killed by a falling tree just north of Tokyo, local police said.
Nearly 30 people were injured across the country and more than 11,000 people were evacuated to shelters, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. News broadcasts showed the damage left by the storm as it moved northeast across the country - partially submerged cars, large shipping containers scattered by the wind, and heavily damaged buildings with ceilings and walls torn away. Electrical power was gradually being restored to the more than 500,000 homes that had been cut off during the storm, according to Japan's power companies.
Strong winds forced trains to stop midway between stations and unload passengers, and in some parts of Tokyo suited salarymen sprinted to work on roads alongside the dormant tracks. The usually punctual subways ran intermittently throughout the morning, according to Tokyo Metro Co. The country's major airlines said at least 400 domestic flights and 20 international flights had been cancelled because of the storm. Some coastal highways were closed because of strong winds, and news footage showed large waves crashing over storm barriers onto roads.
The storm then moved north of Tokyo and weakened slightly. *AP