TOKYO (AFP, REUTERS) - A strong typhoon that could bring "historic" winds and rain was poised to make a direct hit on Tokyo later on Sunday (Sept 8), as authorities warned of high waves, landslides and flooding.
Typhoon Faxai, packing winds of up to 216km per hour, is forecast to reach coastal areas near Tokyo in the late hours of Sunday into Monday morning, Japan's meteorological agency said.
"Please be on full alert against gusts and high waves and be vigilant about landslides, floods and swollen rivers," the agency said in a statement.
Meteorological agency official Naoji Nakamura told reporters that the typhoon could bring “record” winds and rains.
Eight surfers were rescued amid high waves off Shizuoka in cental Japan after they were swept out to sea, local officials said.
“Two helicopters were dispatched while special rescuers rushed out to sea,” a fire department spokesman told AFP. “We sent two of them to hospital but no one was in danger of dying,” he added.
The storm was already affecting transportation in the region as operators cancelled some Shikansen bullet train services and ferries.
Central Japan Railway Company said it would cancel some 50 bullet trains connecting Tokyo with central and western Japanese cities, while ferries operating in Tokyo bay were also scrapped.
East Japan Railway services in the greater Tokyo area would also be stopped from the start of Monday service to 2300 GMT – during the city’s peak morning rush – due to expected heavy rains, NHK said.
Some 30 flights will be grounded later in the day and some coastal highways were closed in Kanagawa, west of Tokyo due to the storm, according to local media.
Faxai was churning near Hachijojima island, south of Tokyo in the Pacific, at 10am on Sunday local time (9am Singapore), travelling north-west at a speed of 30 kilometres and already producing high waves.
Powerful typhoon Krosa lashed western Japan in mid-August, bringing strong winds and torrential rain that claimed one life.
In late August, heavy rains left three people dead as massive floods also hit western Japan.