6:30 AM (JT), Wednesday 16 October 2013
Tokyo (CNN) -- At least 17 people have died and hundreds of flights have been canceled as Typhoon Wipha pummeled the Tokyo area on Wednesday.
Rocks from a landslide
down an electric pole outside
a house in suburban Tokyo
A local government official in Oshima, a small island 120 km (75 miles) south of Tokyo, said that a majority of the people died after heavy rain triggered flooding and landslides that blocked roads and crushed houses.
|Tokyo commuters struggle to get to work.|
More than 500 domestic and international flights were canceled at Tokyo's Narita and Haneda airports and the national rail operator halted bullet train services in central and northern Japan.
People in Tokyo
rush to avoid heavy rainfall and strong winds
The typhoon is moving north along the Pacific coast of Japan and is expected to reach the northernmost island of Hokkaido by late Wednesday.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the main electricity supplier in Tokyo and central Japan, said blackouts affected more than 56,000 households.
TEPCO, which has been struggling to deal with a series of leaks at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said workers at the plant were "on vigil" and accumulated rainwater had been released from storage tanks.
Typhoon Wipha, the 'strongest in 10 years',
passed close to Tokyo on Wednesday
CNN PRODUCER NOTE: British photojournalist ElBranden said the storm has since left Kiyose, north of Tokyo; although military helicopters are still flying overhead checking for storm damage. "While the storm was said to be the worst in 10 years to hit Tokyo, it did not feel like it," he said. "My wife, who is Japanese, stubbornly and in character, stormed the storm to go to work, even though I suggested she should leave after it passed."