Tokyo braces for direct hit from typhoon Faxai

Tokyo braces for direct hit from typhoon Faxai

The skyline of Tokyo, August 13, 2014,
File photo of the skyline of Tokyo. (Photo: AFP/Kazuhiro)

TOKYO: A strong typhoon that could bring record winds and rain was poised to make a direct hit on Tokyo later Sunday (Sep 8), as authorities issued evacuation warnings amid a risk of high waves, landslides and flooding.

Typhoon Faxai, packing winds of up to 216kmh, is forecast to reach coastal areas near Tokyo in the late hours of Sunday into Monday morning, Japan's meteorological agency said.

The storm forced train operators to suspend major lines in the capital during Monday morning rush hours, while grounding more than 170 flights.

"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 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.

Local authorities in Ebina, west of Tokyo, told more than 3,500 residents living in hillside areas to "swiftly evacuate."

The storm was already affecting transport in the region as operators cancelled some Shinkansen bullet train services and ferries.

Central Japan Railway Company said it would cancel some 100 bullet trains connecting Tokyo with central and western Japanese cities on Sunday, while ferries operating in Tokyo bay were also scrapped.

East Japan Railway, the biggest railway operator in the capital, said all lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be suspended Monday morning until around 8am.

"We need to inspect tracks and check if there is any damage as the typhoon is expected to pass through the region overnight," a company spokesman told AFP.

Airlines cancelled at least 171 flights while some coastal highways were closed west of the capital in Kanagawa due to the storm, according to local media.

Some department stores and amusement parks, including Tokyo Disneyland, will close earlier than scheduled due to bad weather, public broadcaster NHK said.

Faxai was churning near Izuoshima island, south of Tokyo in the Pacific, at 5.00pm on Sunday (0800 GMT), travelling northwest at a speed of 30kmh 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.

Source: AFP/mn/zl