Typhoon Talas Posing Major Threat to Japan with Heavy Rain and Landslides.
Tropical Storm Talas formed over the western Pacific Ocean on August 25, 2011. By September 1, storm clouds had reached the southern shores of Japan. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this picture of the storm the same day. NASA’s Aqua satellite

A powerful typhoon hit western Japan's Kinki and Shikoku regions on Sunday, leaving at least 20 people dead and 55 missing in six prefectures after swollen rivers washed away buildings and landslides crushed houses.

The dead included 12 people in Wakayama Prefecture and three more in Nara Prefecture, according to Japan Times. Those numbers could rise as rescue efforts fully get underway, as it is currently disrupted by damaged roads and other factors in some typhoon-hit areas, Japan officials told the media.

Typhoon Talas made landfall on Saturday is said to be one of the deadliest in recent years. It packed gusts of up to 68mph (108kph) as it cut across the main island of Shikoku and the western part of Honshu island.

It is being reported that in four towns in Wakayama, including Nachikatsuura and Shingu, more than 3,600 people in 37 areas were cut off in isolated pockets of the prefecture as of Sunday night local time.

Japan Times reported that the Meteorological Agency has asked that people still remain vigilant as the slow-moving typhoon could bring heavy rains to western Japan, possibly causing more mudslides and flooding.

The typhoon is a grim reminder of the huge earthquake and tsunami Japan suffered on March 11.