Strongest typhoon in 25 years makes landfall in western Japan
With heavy rains and reported wind speeds of up to 172km/h, Typhoon Jebi is the strongest typhoon Japan has seen in 25 years. The storm made landfall around noon on Tuesday local time and continued its path of destruction across Japan’s main island of Honshu.
Local media reported that the storm has killed seven people and injured at least 200. Land and air travel have been severely disrupted in the region due to flooding at the main international airport as well as damage to local bridges and roads. The public broadcaster NHK reported that more than 700 domestic and international flights have been cancelled, along with scores of ferry and train services.
Over 1.9 million people were advised to evacuate, and officials issued a stronger but non-mandatory evacuation for 16,000 people as the wind and rain intensified on Tuesday. Many people who evacuated their homes travelled to the western port city of Kobe where 1,500 temporary shelters were set up.
Typhoon Jebi hit Japan just a few weeks after parts of the country faced torrential rains that killed more than 200 people. In the midst of preparing for the storm, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe cancelled a planned trip to Kyushu so he could oversee the government’s response to the storm.
The typhoon is not expected to make a direct hit on Tokyo and is expected to weaken as it moves north. But before heading out to sea, the storm will likely pass through the cities of Osaka and Kyoto, home to over 2 million people. In the wake of the storm, Japan’s weather agency has warned of possible landslides, flooding, violent winds, high tides, lightening, and tornadoes in the affected areas.
Typhoon Jebi is the first typhoon, that has made landfall, to be classified as “very strong” since 1993 when a typhoon left 48 people dead or missing, according to Japan’s weather agency. The storm is expected to weaken into an extra-tropical cyclone by Wednesday morning.
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Photo Credit: KYODO/VIA REUTERS