Powerful typhoon nears Tokyo after losing some strength

01 October, 2018, 00:12 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • NOAA satellite image of Typhoon Trami

The typhoon made landfall in western Japan's Wakayama prefecture Sunday night, and strong winds and rain had already begun to affect Tokyo before midnight, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Japan issued evacuation orders and warnings to about 700,000 households in southern and western Japan.

The western city of Osaka lay close to the path of the storm and its Kansai Airport, which is situated on reclaimed land offshore and suffered extensive damage in a storm earlier in September, closed two runways.

At least 51 people were injured in southern Japan, it said.

The island's main carrier, China Air Lines (CAL), was canceling Sunday's flights CI156/157 and CI172/173 between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Kansai, flights CI166/167 between Kaohsiung and Kansai, and flights 178/179 between Taoyuan and Takamatsu, according to the Apple Daily.

Some 700 people were evacuated to shelters in Okinawa and electricity was cut to almost 200,000 homes, public broadcaster NHK said.

Trami was expected to make landfall Sunday morning in southern Kyushu.

As of noon September 29, the typhoon was about 40 kilometers south-southeast of Okinawa's Kumejima island and moving northward at a speed of 20 kph.

East Japan Railway said it would halt all train services in the Tokyo metropolitan area from 8 p.m. on Sunday and operations of some bullet trains were also suspended.

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Outlying islands in the Okinawan chain, some 1,000 km (621 miles) southwest of Tokyo, were being pounded by heavy rain and high tides a day before an Okinawan gubernatorial election on Sunday.

The typhoon is projected to hit regions ravaged earlier this month by Typhoon Jebi, which caused landslides and floods and temporarily shut Kansai International Airport.

The storm's huge eye was forecast to move near the city of Osaka before churning across the Japanese archipelago, likely hitting areas still recovering from extreme weather that has battered Japan in recent months.

Five people suffered injuries in storm-related accidents in Okinawa, but no one was feared dead, local officials said.

Deadly record rainfall hit western Japan earlier this year and the country sweltered through one of the hottest summers on record.

"People in Okinawa are used to typhoons but we are strongly urging them to stay vigilant", he told AFP.

There have already been heavy downpours in large areas of western and eastern Japan, including the capital, as the storm spurred a seasonal rain front.

Images from the International Space Station posted on Twitter by astronaut Alexander Gerst on Tuesday showed Trami's enormous eye which he said was "as if somebody pulled the planet's big plug".

Also in September, a magnitude 6.6 natural disaster rocked the northern island of Hokkaido, sparking landslides and leaving more than 40 people dead.

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