According to the national meteorological institute, the rains “have already exceeded the average monthly precipitation for August in some areas”.
More than 180,000 residents of a western Japanese city were urged to seek shelter on Tuesday as Tropical Storm Lan slammed into the country, raising fears of flooding and landslides, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
The typhoon, downgraded to a “severe tropical storm” when it made landfall around 5 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday in Wakayama prefecture, about 600 kilometers west of Tokyo, was sweeping through western Japan, where there are major metropolises like Osaka and Kobe, heading north.
“Lives are in danger”
The city of Tottori, which faces the Sea of Japan, issued its maximum evacuation alert for some 182,000 residents in the late afternoon, as the meteorological agency warned of the arrival “unprecedented” heavy rains in the region.
“Lives are at risk. Residents are in a situation where their personal safety must be ensured,” Satoshi Sugimoto of the Japan Meteorological Agency told reporters.
The latter asked the population of the region to take refuge on high ground because of a risk of flooding. Electricity was largely restored but 9,200 homes lacked it, according to local operator Kansai Electric Power.
Traffic axes cut
The rains “have already exceeded the average monthly rainfall for August in some areas” in central and western regions, JMA said on Network X (formerly Twitter).
The circulation of high-speed shinkansen trains between Nagoya (center) and Okayama (west) was interrupted, like traffic on many local railway lines. Part of a pedestrian bridge spanning a river has been washed away in Kyoto. Many flights have been canceled since Monday: 240 flights for the airline Japan Airlines and 313 for its competitor ANA.
Some 650 people were forced to spend the night at Kansai International Airport, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay and connected to the archipelago by a bridge, after road and rail access was cut off by storm, Japanese news agency Kyodo reported.
The storm was expected to continue sweeping across western Japan all day Tuesday before reaching the Sea of Japan and moving up towards Vladivostok, at the southeastern tip of Russia.
Source: BFM TV