Typhoon Trami leaves 18 injured in Okinawa, likely to traverse Japan

A powerful typhoon is set to hit the Japanese archipelago after passing near Okinawa on Saturday, the weather agency said, warning of strong wind, high waves and heavy rain.

At least 18 people in the southern prefecture were injured by glass from broken windows or when they were blown over by strong winds, according to local authorities. In Nanjo, a gust of 202 kilometers per hour was recorded while a gust of 183 kph was registered in the prefectural capital Naha.

In Okinawa, where a gubernatorial election is scheduled for Sunday, more than half of the municipalities have decided to close their early voting stations due to stormy conditions, the prefectural election administration commission said.

Typhoon Trami is expected to make landfall in western Japan and rip through the country’s eastern and northern areas by Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, urging people to stay indoors.Kansai International Airport said it will close its two runways from 11 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday as the typhoon is expected to come closest to the airport, located on a man-made island in Osaka Bay.

The main global gateway to western Japan was forced to close earlier this month after a runway and a terminal building were flooded amid high tides when Typhoon Jebi made landfall in the region on Sept. 4. The airport only resumed full operations on Sept. 21.

Trami gradually picked up speed as it moved toward southwestern Japan.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, the season’s 24th typhoon was traveling about 60 km west-northwest of Okinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, at a speed of 25 kph, with an atmospheric pressure of 950 hectopascals at its center and packing winds of up to 216 kph, according to the agency.The typhoon forced airlines including Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. to cancel on Saturday more than 400 flights from or to airports in Okinawa and Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan. The cancelations affected over 39,000 passengers.

Shinkansen service between Tokyo, Shin-Osaka and Hiroshima stations will be halted Sunday afternoon as the typhoon is expected to affect the areas, bullet train operators said.West Japan Railway Co. said it will also suspend all train services in the metropolitan area centering on Osaka by noon Sunday as a precautionary measure.Universal Studios Japan said its theme park in Osaka will be closed on Sunday.

Japan has been hit by a series of typhoons this year, including Typhoon Prapiroon, which brought downpours and caused floods and mudslides in western Japan.On Sept. 4, Jebi also caused a tanker to smash into and damage a bridge connecting Kansai International Airport with the mainland, stranding thousands of people at the airport at one point.Learning lessons from the typhoon earlier this month, the airport is well prepared for Typhoon Trami, the operator said.

“We may fall into a situation that people can’t leave the airport like when the previous typhoon hit, but we’re fully stocked with food to last till rescuers come,” said Koji Ishikawa, a senior official of the airport operator.

The Japan Coast Guard on Saturday urged operators or owners of vessels to anchor them at least 5.5 km off the coast near the airport to avoid similar accidents.

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