Typhoon Wipha struck the coast of Japan Wednesday, with winds of up to 110 miles per hour. The strong winds and pounding rains produced fatal mudslides that buried homes and caused massive destruction.
Izu Oshima, an island 75 miles south of Tokyo, got the worst of the storm, where at least 16 bodies were found buried by mudslides.
"I heard a crackling sound and then the trees on the hillside all fell over," a woman on Izu Oshima told NHK television of the mudslide that nearly destroyed her home.
In Tokyo, a woman died after being swept into a river. Reuters reported the total death toll from the storm to be at least 17 people, with more than 50 people missing, and at least 20 people injured.
The government advised 20,000 people to leave their homes because of flooding and landslides. And Tokyo's airports, Haneda and Narita, have canceled more than 500 flights, CNN reports. Even northern Japan has been affected by the torrential rains and violent winds, forcing the bullet train service to shutdown.
Tokyo Electric Power Company is the main electricity hub for the area, and has reported more than 56,000 homes to be without power. TEPCO is also taking special measures to make sure it's own nuclear power plant, Fukushima, that was damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, does not release radioactive rainwater. The operator in charge of the plant told USA Today that only rainwater below an acceptable level was being released back into the ocean.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe informed the Parliament the government would do it's best to rescue missing persons and assist survivors. Japanese troops are assisting "hyper rescue" police in the recovery efforts in Tokyo and on Izu Oshima Island.