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Severe winds disrupt Japanese transit

TOKYO — Japanese airlines canceled hundreds of flights, some train services were halted, and thousands of workers went home early as some of the strongest winds in more than 50 years hit Tokyo on Tuesday.

The weather agency issued a tornado warning for the Tokyo area after a storm dumped as much as 2.4 inches of rain an hour in central Japan as it crossed from the southwest, with winds gusting up to 87 miles per hour. An 82-year-old woman died after being knocked over by the wind and hitting her head, national broadcaster NHK reported.

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“Our company closed early but I stayed longer to finish work,’’ said Akio Fukuzaki, an engineer waiting in line at a Tokyo train station for operations to resume. “I should have left earlier.’’

As many as 11,500 households lost power because of the storm in Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures, Hokuriku Electric Power said. At least 60 people were injured in 17 prefectures, NHK reported.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, the nation’s two largest airlines, canceled 566 flights, stranding more than 68,000 passengers. All Nippon scrapped 336 flights, affecting about 38,000 people, the airline said in a faxed statement, while Japan Air canceled 230 domestic flights.

Both airlines warned that international services may also be disrupted.

East Japan Railway, the largest railway operator in the Tokyo region, canceled some trains due to strong winds, according to its website. Express services on the Chuo line, linking western suburbs with the city center, were scrapped, while regular services were running at 70 percent frequency, the operator said. Some expressways were also closed in the capital.

Bullet train services linking Tokyo and Osaka were also disrupted.

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