Tornados hit eastern Japan, injuring many

Posted at 09/02/13 7:01 PM

TOKYO - Tornados hit cities in eastern Japan on Monday afternoon, injuring dozens of people and damaging buildings, local police said.

In Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, residents reported to the police that power poles collapsed and roofs were blown off residential buildings.

Police said they have confirmed six buildings were completely destroyed and around 80 were badly damaged in the city.

Among the injured, a man suffered a skull fracture, according to the Shock Trauma Center at Dokkyo Medical University Koshigaya Hospital.

Flying debris smashed around 50 windows at Sakuraiminami Elementary School in the city, injuring two third-grade boys, the school said.

Principal Toshio Kudo said the tornado hit around 2:20 p.m., just as pupils were leaving the school after an opening ceremony following the summer break.

At a public junior high school in Koshigaya, around 20 students were injured by the gusty wind while playing volleyball, according to police.

Around 27,000 households in Koshigaya and nearby Kasukabe lost power due to high winds and lightning, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

In the town of Matsubushi, north of Koshigaya, more than 10 buildings lost their roofs.

In Noda, Chiba Prefecture, more than 20 houses suffered damage to roofs and tiles, and power was temporarily cut to 6,200 households, according to local authorities.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference in Tokyo the government has sent investigative teams to Koshigaya and Noda. He also called for caution to prevent accidents due to debris on roads and downed power lines.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, atmospheric instability was caused by warm, humid air filling the space under a cold front building high above Japan.

This increased the likelihood of sudden gusts, including tornados, forming under cumulonimbus clouds.

Regional observatories in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, and Choshi, Chiba Prefecture, issued a tornado warning at 2:11 p.m.