Strong typhoon passes near Okinawa; set to hit mainland

Geneva Stokes
September 30, 2018

The Yomiuri ShimbunAn extremely powerful typhoon was expected to bring violent winds and stormy weather to an extensive area stretching from western to northern Japan on Monday.

Airlines canceled more than 1,100 flights, public broadcaster NHK said. Typhoon No. 21 in early September flooded the runways at Kansai International Airport and led to thousands of passengers being stranded overnight.

All this comes on the heels of a country still reeling from one of the hottest summers on record, deadly rains that inundated central and western Japan, the strongest typhoon to hit the region in 25 years in Typhoon Jebi and a magnitude-6.6 natural disaster on Hokkaido that killed 40.

Churning north across Okinawa on Saturday, Trami is predicted to move across the islands of Kyushu and the main island of Honshu on Sunday, a path similar to that taken by typhoon Jebi early in September.

In July, heavy rain in western Japan killed 221 people, setting off landslides and flooding.

After raking the outlying islands, the typhoon is forecast to pick up speed and approach western Japan on Sunday "with a very strong force" as it barrels over the mainland, he added. Trami was expected to make landfall Sunday morning in southern Kyushu. Several houses were flooded or damaged and 38 people sustained minor injuries but no one was feared dead, local officials said.

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The storm was forecast to smash into the mainland near Osaka and churn across the Japanese archipelago, likely hitting areas still recovering from a series of extreme weather events that have battered Japan in recent months. I stepped outside the city hall in the afternoon, and the rain was swirling in very strong wind.

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

Winds of 202km/h are lashing Japan as Typhoon Trami wreaks havoc.

East Japan Railway announced that it would gradually suspend train services in and around Tokyo and end all trains around 8pm (6pm in Thailand), shortly before the typhoon was to draw near the Japanese capital. It claimed 11 lives and shut down Kansai Airport. Train service in Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe districts, as well as the bullet train between Tokyo and western Japan, will be suspended through portions of Sunday, NHK said.

As of 11 p.m. Saturday, the season's 24th typhoon was traveling about 60 km west-northwest of Okinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, at a speed of 25 kph, with an atmospheric pressure of 950 hectopascals at its center and packing winds of up to 216 kph, according to the agency.

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

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