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Deadly Weather Slams Japan

Tropical storm Pabuk crept past Tokyo toward northern Japan Wednesday, killing at least seven people, deluging towns with rain and grounding airplanes.

Pabuk, which means “big freshwater fish” in Lao, hit Japan Tuesday and continued to pack winds of up to 51 mph late Wednesday. Officials warned of flooding and landslides.

The storm was headed toward the northern island of Hokkaido, where it was expected to dump as much as 6 inches of rainfall before heading off to sea. It was traveling at 25 mph.

Earlier, on its way to Tokyo, the storm killed at least seven people, including a man blown off a roof while making repairs, and injured at least 26, police said.

Kyodo News agency reported higher figures with at least seven people killed, one missing and 40 people injured.

The storm prompted orders for about 50,000 people around the central Japan city of Nagoya to evacuate their homes as nearby rivers swelled to near flood levels. The order was lifted after safety was confirmed. Nagoya is 170 miles southwest of Tokyo

Pabuk's power was obvious as the storm bore down on Japan's capital Wednesday, though no major damage was reported.

The storm halted express trains and caused delays on the highways and commuter trains. Dozens of domestic flights out of Tokyo's Haneda Airport were canceled or delayed.

More than 2,000 homes and businesses temporarily lost power in eastern Japan, said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Akiyo Kobayashi.

Four of six professional baseball games scheduled for Wednesday night were canceled due to soggy fields.

By evening, the rain had eased in Tokyo. Trains and domestic flights in central and eastern Japan were expected to resume service Thursday morning, but northern routes were expected to remain mostly suspended, officials said.

Pabuk moved slowly, increasing the amount of rainfall on areas in its path and thus its potential for causing floods and landslides. Rainfall in the Tokyo area reached as much as 8.7 inches.

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