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Killer Typhoon Floods Japanese Communities

While the United States continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Japan is now seeing the effects of a very powerful typhoon. After causing devastation in the southern and western part of the country, Typhoon Nabi is heading north in the sea between Japan and Korea. Nabi has left at least 23 people dead or missing and nearly 100 injured.

Nabi, packing winds of up to 126 kilometers an hour, is the third typhoon to hit mainland Japan this year.

Meteorologist Masaru Kida at private forecasting company Weathernews says Nabi is extraordinary in that it dumped a record amount of rainfall on some parts of southern Japan, especially on the island of Kyushu.

Mr. Kida says the storm, equivalent to a category three or four hurricane, has dumped more than a meter of rain in some communities in Kyushu since Sunday, equivalent to nearly half of their average annual rainfall.

Flooding and landslides prompted officials to issue evacuation orders for some 350,000 people.

Electricity was knocked out to more than 100,000 homes and businesses.

Some 1500 members of Japan's Self Defense Forces have been deployed to fortify coastal areas and help rescue storm victims.

The typhoon on Monday and Tuesday paralyzed transportation in many areas of the country. The storm also disrupted production at many factories.

Two automobile manufacturers, Mazda and Mitsubishi, say they were forced to suspend operations at their plants in the Hiroshima area Tuesday.

Typhoon Nabi - the name means butterfly in Korean - also caused misery in South Korea. Two people are reported missing there. More than 2,000 police officers and firefighters have been dispatched in the hard-hit city of Ulsan to help with recovery efforts. The storm dumped more than 600 millimeters of rain on the city, triggering landslides.

Forecasters warn that while Nabi has weakened, its winds are still powerful and could cause further damage late Wednesday and early Thursday in Japan's northern Hokkaido island. The U.S. Department of Defense typhoon tracking service projected it would hit Hokkaido and possibly brush near Russia's Sakhalin island late Wednesday.