Deadly 6.7 earthquake shakes northern Japan, downpours to hinder rescue efforts

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
September 10, 2018, 5:49:38 AM EDT

A magnitude 6.7 quake struck 70 miles south of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, at approximately 3:07 a.m. Thursday and was followed by a magnitude 5.3 quake less than 20 minutes later, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

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(Image via USGS)

Residents of Hokkaido awoke to powerful shaking early Thursday morning as the quake caused numerous landslides and homes to collapse.

Reports indicate 39 fatalities due to the quake, according to The Japan Times. More than 7,000 rescuers continue the search for survivors.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said around 300 additional injuries were reported across Hokkaido due to the earthquake.

Nearly 29.5 million homes were left without power following the quake, according to The japan Times. Power was slowly being restored to most areas by Saturday.

Japan Earthquake 9/6

People look at an area damaged by an earthquake in Sapporo in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, in this photo taken September 6, 2018. (Kyodo/via REUTERS)

On Friday morning, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said 191 hospitals were still without power, and 51 were still without water.

Seko said that it could take more than a week to fully restore power to all areas.

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The epicenter was 16 miles from the city of Chitose, home to Hokkaido's main airport and fifth busiest hub in Japan. A ceiling collapse and power outage resulted in closure of the airport for the entire day on Thursday and Friday.

The airport resumed international flights on Saturday.

Damaged roadways and landslides caused severe travel disruption on Thursday. Bullet train service was also affected.

No tsunami was reported following the earthquake.

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Saturday was a largely dry day, though rain returned to to southern and eastern Hokkaido Saturday night and is forecast to continue on and off through Monday.

While the heaviest rain will stay off to the south across much of Honshu, with rainfall totals in Hokkaido expected to be less than 50 mm (2 inches), any rainfall could hamper rescue and recovery efforts and could cause additional landslides.

The heavier rain off to the south, will bring days of downpours in the wake of former Typhoon Jebi, further heightening the risk for flooding.

Japan AP 9/6

People line up outside a supermarket due to rush to buy supplies after an earthquake, in Biei town, Hokkaido, northern Japan, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (Mika Takeda via AP)

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