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Japan is bracing for a powerful typhoon approaching the Kanto region including Tokyo on Saturday, as the tropical storm is likely to later head west to bring heavy rain in regions that have already been ravaged by flooding and landslides.
In Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, police received an emergency call around 7 p.m. reporting that several vehicles including an ambulance were stuck on a water-covered road near the ocean. The water damage was apparently caused by high waves as Typhoon Jongdari approached.
Coming less than a month after torrential rains devastated western regions, the typhoon is forecast to make landfall in central Japan in the early hours of Sunday.
Local authorities in disaster-hit areas, where thousands of people remain living in shelters, set up new facilities Saturday, asking residents who are living in their homes to evacuate early as a precaution.
(Sandbags are piled in residential area of Saka, Hiroshima Pref., to evade flood)
Haruo Nanri, 80, who has been living in an elementary school in Hiroshima city following the rain disaster, received a fresh evacuation advisory when he was preparing to return home after removing the soil from his home.
“I thought I could finally go home,” Nanri said, after deciding to extend his stay in the school due to the approaching typhoon.
In western Japan, rainfall of more than 80 millimeters per hour can occur until Monday, the weather agency said.
Maintaining its strength, the typhoon is packing winds of up to 180 kilometers per hour, said the agency, also warning of strong gusts and high waves.
Transportation has been affected, with airlines canceling more than 260 flights Saturday.
As of 8 p.m., the season’s 12th typhoon was moving over the Pacific Ocean about 90 km southeast of Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and heading west at a speed of 35 kph. It had an atmospheric pressure of 965 hectopascals at its center.
The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast that after the typhoon makes landfall, it is likely to gradually slow down and take an unusual turn to the west.
Typhoons typically approach the Japanese archipelago from the southwest, and many follow a southwest-to-northeast course due partly to the effect of the westerly jet stream and high pressure over the Pacific.
The expected unusual course has prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to issue a rare warning Friday about the weekend storm, particularly for those affected by the massive flooding in western Japan earlier this month that killed 224 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.
The country has also been gripped by a heat wave that immediately followed the rain disaster and which the agency has declared a “natural disaster.” Extreme heat pushed the mercury to a record high 41.1 C on Monday and claimed dozens of lives, mostly elderly people from heatstroke.
In the 24-hour period through 6 p.m. Sunday, 400 mm of rain may fall in some areas in eastern and central Japan, while the expected rainfall in some western Japan regions are 250 mm.