Japan braces for 3rd storm in a week as Typhoon Lionrock approaches

Satellite imagery showing Typhoon Lionrock gathering strength off the east coast of Japan on Aug 26, 2016.
Satellite imagery showing Typhoon Lionrock gathering strength off the east coast of Japan on Aug 26, 2016. PHOTO: EPA/NASA

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan braced on Monday (Aug 29) for a powerful typhoon - the third in little more than a week - and authorities warned of heavy rain, high waves and flooding after the previous storms killed two people.

Typhoon Lionrock, described as "strong", was likely to come ashore north-east of Tokyo on Tuesday before cutting across the country's main island of Honshu and heading out to sea towards Russia and China, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

At 3pm local time on Monday, Lionrock was 330km east of Hachijo Island in the Pacific Ocean south-east of Tokyo, the agency said.

The typhoon, with gusts up to 216 kmh, was moving north-east at 25 kmh, the agency said, and was likely to make landfall in north-east Japan on Tuesday afternoon or evening.

"The most significant factor will be heavy rain," agency chief forecaster Tsumoru Matsumoto told a press briefing.

"In advance of the typhoon's approach, we expect heavy rain in wide areas in eastern and northern Japan."

The authorities have also issued warnings for high waves, strong winds and flooding for the area, saying that those could be upgraded Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who attended a weekend Africa aid conference in Nairobi, left Kenya hours earlier than planned to get back before the storm hits.

Lionrock comes on the heels of two typhoons that hit Japan in the past eight days and resulted in two deaths.

The storms also caused the cancellation of hundreds of domestic flights, while train services were also disrupted.

The agency attributed the unusual number of typhoons approaching Japan in such a short period to a high-pressure system in the Pacific east of Japan.