Hundreds of flights cancelled, rail services suspended as storm Krosa lashes south-west Japan

Heavy rain in Tokyo on Aug 15, 2019, the same day a severe tropical storm slammed into Japan's south, bringing strong winds and torrential rain that claimed at least one life.
Heavy rain in Tokyo on Aug 15, 2019, the same day a severe tropical storm slammed into Japan's south, bringing strong winds and torrential rain that claimed at least one life.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (BLOOMBERG, XINHUA, AFP) - Severe tropical storm Krosa lashed western and southern Japan with torrential rain and wind on Thursday (Aug 15), causing Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways to cancel hundreds of domestic and international flights and some train lines to halt services.

Some factories in the affected regions halted production on Thursday, while many were already shut for the traditional summer holiday this week.

The storm left about 3,100 homes in the south-west without power as of 6.30am local time, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on its website.

As of Thursday morning, Krosa was swirling off the country’s Shikoku island and was expected to make landfall by midday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The storm is packing maximum sustained winds as fast as 100kmh. As much as 100cm of rain is expected in southern and western areas of the country.

Flood alerts were issued, including for some regions that last year suffered historic summer rainfall, flooding and landslides that killed more than 100 people.

Whisky and beverages maker Suntory Holdings said it closed plants in Osaka, Yamazaki and Kyoto to ensure safety as the storm hits.

The nation’s biggest carmaker Toyota Motor on Wednesday said its plants were already closed this week for the holidays.

As of Thursday morning, All Nippon Airways had cancelled 230 domestic and 10 international flights. Japan Airlines halted 177 local flights and six international flights. Other carriers including Skymark Airlines and Japan Air Commuter grounded some of their flights.

 

West Japan Railway is halting bullet-train services on Thursday between Shin-Osaka and Kokura, Fukuoka, on concern that the weather could interfere with operating safety. Kyushu Railway said it would reduce its bullet-train operations, while Shikoku Railway said it is stopping all train services for Thursday to ensure safety.

Meanwhile, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 on Thursday also struck Japan's northern Aomori Prefecture.

Krosa - one notch below a typhoon - slammed into the southern Hiroshima region and sparked travel chaos as people battled to return to major cities following the Obon holiday.

Dramatic television footage showed violent winds uprooting trees, snapping lamp posts and spinning pods on a ferris wheel.

Authorities issued a voluntary evacuation advisory to around 430,000 people in the storm's path although few appeared to have heeded the warning.

An 82-year-old man was confirmed dead after he fell in the sea in Hiroshima trying to moor his boat, a local government spokesman said.

The storm is forecast to cross Japan's mainland and hit the Sea of Japan by Thursday night, reducing its strength.

Meanwhile, Thursday's temblor, which occurred at 2.33pm local time at a depth of 90km, did not trigger a tsunami warning or advisory, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The earthquake logged 4 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, which peaks at 7, in some areas of Aomori Prefecture, the JMA said.

It also logged 3 on the seismic scale in some areas in Iwate and Hokkaido prefectures, according to the weather agency.

There have been no immediate reports of major damage or injuries as a result of the earthquake.