Japan braces itself for storm

Flights and train services cancelled as Typhoon Nangka heads for mainland

TOKYO • A powerful typhoon barrelled towards the Japanese mainland yesterday, bringing heavy rains, causing landslides and forcing cancellation of flights and train services.

Typhoon Nangka, packing gusts of up to 198kmh, was some 130km south of Shikoku, one of the country's main islands, at 4pm local time, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

The storm was moving north at 20kmh, on course to directly hit Shikoku in the evening before lashing the main island of Honshu.

Torrential rain was already sweeping the Shikoku region yesterday afternoon, and the region was expected to be hammered by violent, thunderous winds.

The JMA has issued warnings for flooding, gale-force winds, landslides and high waves in southern Japan. It forecasts that rainfall would total 800mm on Shikoku, 600mm in Osaka, Nagoya and their vicinities, and 300mm in Tokyo and its surrounding region in the 24 hours through noon today.

Nangka forced carriers Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways to cancel more than 120 domestic flights. The region's train operators also cancelled some services, particularly those in late evening, ahead of the typhoon's arrival.

In the past week, eight tropical systems - including major typhoons Nangka and Chan-hom - have formed across the Pacific from China to Mexico.

On top of that, another system has developed in the Southern Hemisphere, putting the two-week tally for the Pacific Ocean basin at nine, said Dr Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University.

"It has been super active in the Pacific," he said.

Over the weekend, Chan-hom grazed China's east coast and broke up into a remnant low on its way to North Korea. Nangka's winds were forecast to reach Category 3 strength, then weaken before going ashore, said the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre run by the US Navy and Air Force.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'Japan braces itself for storm'. Print Edition | Subscribe