July 25, 2017

Tropical storm Talas causes destruction in Japan

Rescuers search through wreckage in the wake of tropical storm Talas.

The death toll from tropical storm Talas, which swept across western Japan over the weekend has risen to 29, local authorities said Monday.

Another 56 people are missing, according to a tally of casualties compiled from various prefectural police.

The storm unleashed record rainfall that triggered landslides and flooding.

The Japan Meteorological Agency briefly classified the storm as a typhoon before it made landfall. But the Joint Typhoon Warning Center recorded the storm making landfall in Japan as a tropical storm.

“I have been working for the prefectural office over 40 years, but this is the worst in my memory,” said Tsutomu Furukawa of Wakayama prefecture. Wakayama is one of three prefectures on the mountainous Kii Peninsula, where damage from Talas was concentrated as the storm swept across the area on Saturday.

In the town of Nachi Katsuura in Wakayama, a river flooded into a residential area, and mudslides swallowed several homes, officials said.

More than 16,000 residents were ordered to evacuate from the Kii Peninsula area, and roughly 30,000 other residents were encouraged to evacuate voluntarily.

According to Japan’s meteorological agency, Talas brought record rain in the three prefectures over three days. The Japanese government set up a emergency task force for search-and-rescue operations and to begin reconstruction of damaged communities.

Typhoon or tropical storm? It doesn’t matter. Any storm that does this scale of damage and death is a bad one no matter what label the experts puton it.