Japan Tornado: Dozens Injured In Saitama

A tornado has ripped through parts of eastern Japan, injuring several dozen people, tearing off roofs and destroying buildings.

Police in Saitama Prefecture say 63 people have been hurt and about 110 houses totally destroyed or partly damaged in Koshigaya city and surrounding areas on Monday.

One of the injured was in serious condition with a fractured skull.

Seven girls from a middle school were also injured when a part of the gymnasium's roof flew off and glass windows were shattered, local news reports said.

During the tornado, a warehouse was ripped from its foundations and hurled into other buildings.

Residents have been stopped from going back to their houses because of fears the structures will collapse.

Some power lines have been snapped and a number of them had hit houses as they fell, worsening the damage.

"We are preparing evacuation shelters, while also readying emergency supplies," said an official at the city's fire department.

Tornadoes also struck other nearby areas, such as Chiba Prefecture.

The electricity supply was cut for about 33,000 households in the region, mainly in Saitama Prefecture, probably after lightning strikes, according to utility Tokyo Electric Power which provides power in the area.

"Weather conditions in the region today have been very unstable," said a meteorologist at Japan's weather agency.

"In flatter parts of the region particularly, warm, wet air can come inland and spark tornados. This is especially the case when there is a typhoon developing in the south."