Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Japan issues evacuations for 300,000 people as typhoon Jebi bears down

Super Typhoon Jebi Is the typhoon strengthening? Will it make landfall in Japan Super Typhoon Jebi A map shows where the storm will track
Ray Hunter | 04 September, 2018, 19:17

Jebi, the 21st typhoon of the season, had made landfall in Kobe, west of Osaka and Kyoto, as of 2:10 p.m. after earlier sweeping Japan's smallest main island of Shikoku. The tanker was empty and none of its crew was injured, the coast guard said.

Vehicles damaged by Typhoon Jebi are seen in Osaka, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 4, 2018.

Weather forecaster Ryuta Kurora described the typhoon as "very strong", adding: "This is (the strongest) since 1993".

One of two runways at Kansai International Airport, which sits on a man-made island in Osaka Bay, was flooded in the afternoon, according to Kansai Airports, the airport operator.

Local media said more than a million households were left without power by the storm, and evacuation advisories were issued for almost 1.2 million people, though only another 16,000 were under stronger - though still not mandatory - evacuation orders.

There are warnings of high waves, flooding and mudslides.

The storm has battered the cities of Kobe and Osaka, with Japanese media reporting that more than 700 flights had been canceled, according to the Associated Press.

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Bracing for Jebi, domestic airlines have played it safe, canceling a number of local and global flights mainly scheduled to depart and arrive in airports in western and central Japan.

The flooding and landslides proved so deadly in part because many people did not heed evacuation warnings, which are not mandatory.

The storm also cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes and caused schools, shops and factories to close in Osaka, Japan's second largest city and a business center.

In Osaka, the Universal Studios Japan theme park and US consulate were both closed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been traveling across the in a bid to bolster his support ahead of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's leadership election later this month, canceled his trip to the Kyushu region to deal with the typhoon. Local and high-speed trains between Osaka and Hiroshima were cancelled.

Local production was also hit, with Toyota Motor Corp halting operations at most of its group plants, and Honda Motor Co halting its Suzuka plant in Mie prefecture.

"Even if the typhoon changes to a tropical cyclone or a temperate low pressure, there is a risk that severe phenomena such as heavy rain, strong winds, high waves and the like will continue to occur", the agency said.

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