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Powerful Typhoon Menaces Tokyo

August 25, 2005

TOKYO (AP) _ A powerful typhoon disrupted air traffic and oil shipments in Japan on Thursday as it churned northward over the Pacific Ocean, heading toward the nation’s capital.

The storm, with winds up to 95 mph, could land in the Tokyo area early Friday, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

Local media reported no injuries, but heavy rain and winds halted oil deliveries from refineries in Yokkaichi in Chiba prefecture (state), and grounded dozens of domestic flights.

National television network NHK showed fishing boats along Japan’s eastern coast returning to port Thursday to brace for the storm and trees blown over by fierce winds in Shizuoka city.

Areas in the Kanto region around Tokyo were expected to get as much as 14 inches of rain in a 24-hour span, while waves as high as 20 feet had been recorded along the coast.

Japan was struck by a record 10 typhoons and tropical storms last year, leaving nearly 220 people dead or missing _ the largest casualty toll since 1983.

Typhoon Tokage, which hit in October, was Japan’s deadliest storm in more than a decade, killing 83 people.

Scientists blamed last year’s intense storm season partially on warmer-than-average ocean temperatures.

A tropical storm that landed southeast of Tokyo last month injured four people and forced hundreds to evacuate.

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