TOKYO (AP) – A powerful typhoon raked Japan’s Pacific coastline Saturday, killing at least two people and leaving at least five others missing in the most powerful storm to hit the nation in a decade, officials said.

Ma-on, which means horse saddle in Cantonese, was the record eighth typhoon to reach Japan’s shores this year. Meteorological Agency officials said the brunt of the tempest – which had sustained winds of 100 miles per hour – was stronger than any other to hit the eastern coast in 10 years.

By late Saturday, the storm had passed, veering eastward over the Pacific Ocean.

The agency forecast about 10 inches of rain through Sunday along the eastern seaboard of the main island of Honshu. It warned of high tides and landslides due to unstable, rain-soaked soil.

Hardest hit were Tokyo and the central states of Shizuoka and Aichi, where rain turned streets into rivers, mudslides damaged homes and gusts ripped trees from the ground.

National Police said a 55-year-old man was crushed to death when a landslide buried his home in Kamakura, southwest of Tokyo. A 72-year-old man in Kamogun, about 95 miles west of the capital, was struck and killed by a toppled electricity pole.

Five people in eastern and central Japan were missing, including a 74-year-old man who may have fallen into a rain-swollen river, according to police.

At least five others were treated at hospitals for broken bones and other injuries.

Public broadcaster NHK said more than 400 domestic and international flights and most ferry services along the east coast had been canceled.

In central and eastern Japan, railway operators suspended train services and roads were closed to traffic, NHK said.

Rescuers with boats plucked dozens of residents from waterlogged homes in Shizuoka state, officials said. Authorities had ordered evacuations in Shizuoka, Mie, Wakayama, Nara and Osaka prefectures and about 1,500 people took refuge in public shelters.

Hundreds of homes were damaged by mudslides or floods, police said.

The downpour was so severe that it leaked through the retractable roof at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo and forced officials at the Japan Open tennis tournament to temporarily stop play.

In Suzuka, organizers of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix closed the circuit Saturday, canceling the regular pre-qualifying and qualifying sessions, which are scheduled to take place before the race Sunday morning, a first in Formula One. Suzuka is about 170 miles west of Tokyo.

The storm comes a week after Tropical Storm Meari tore through Japan, killing 22 people and injuring at least 80 others. Downgraded from a typhoon after hitting the southern island of Okinawa, Meari caused floods, triggered deadly landslides and forced about 10,000 people to evacuate their homes.

This year’s typhoons are the most on record since the Meteorological Agency began keeping records in 1951. Japan was hit by six typhoons in 1990, the previous record.

AP-ES-10-09-04 2057EDT



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