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Typhoon weakens off Japan's coast

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Typhoon Francisco weakened Saturday and veered away from Japan's Pacific coast after forcing more than 1,000 people to take shelter on an island where rain-triggered mudslides left 43 dead or missing last week.

The center of the storm, packing winds of up to 144 kilometers per hour, was located some 400 kilometers southeast of Tokyo at 8 p.m. as it moved eastwards at 45 kilometers per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Lekima, located further east and packing stronger winds, was also expected to be downgraded Sunday.

On the volcanic island of Oshima, some 120 kilometers south of Tokyo, 1,300 people spent the night in public shelters for fear of more mudslides mixed with rock and volcanic ash.

"It has been raining overnight but no landslides or mudslides have been reported near main roads," an official of the Oshima town office said.

But the town mayor, Masafumi Kawashima , told local media: "Disasters involving earth and sand could occur after it stops raining. We will maintain vigilance."

The town issued an advisory to the island's entire population to take shelter against Francisco.

It has some 8,400 islanders but hundreds of them were thought to have left the island to avoid mudslides.

Evacuees on the island were further rattled by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that rocked eastern Japan overnight triggering a small tsunami.

"I was too worried to sleep," fisherman Takayuki Koike told Jiji Press news agency at the Oshima municipal high school where more than 500 islanders were sheltered.

"I was not only worried about the mountain but also about the sea," said part-time worker Noriko Watanabe, 49, whose house was located on the waterfront.

The tsunami measured as high as 55 centimeters along the Pacific coast of eastern Japan.

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3 Comments
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How can they even see a tsunami that's 1/2 meter tall? Wouldn't it just blend in with the other waves?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sensei, A tsunami isn't like a wave, it's like a rising river. The water level rises 1/2 a metre so all the waves for a short period would be 1/2 metre higher than usual. If you're in a quiet port watching the boats sitting in the still water, they would all rise up 1/2 metre for a while and it would probably do that over and over again. I've seen a 1/2 metre tsunami come into an estuary once. It was low tide and the water was out so most of the sand was exposed. When the tsunami came, water rushed into the inlet like a high tide. The inlet was shallow so the edge of the water was more than a kilometre higher than 10 minutes before. It was only a few feet of water but you wouldn't have been able to stand up in it, it was like a river. It did that 6 or 7 times over an hour. Scary!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great info Lunchbox, I had often wondered that myself.

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