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Strong typhoon barrels towards flood-hit western Japan

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Tokyo, Japan | Thu, August 23, 2018 | 01:11 pm
Strong typhoon barrels towards flood-hit western Japan Pedestrians holding umbrellas walk in the rain in Tokyo on August 8, 2018. A powerful typhoon was churning towards Japan on August 8, prompting the weather agency to warn of heavy rain and strong winds and forcing airlines to cancel scores of flights. Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP (AFP/Kazuhiro Nogi)

A strong typhoon hurtled towards western Japan on Thursday, with forecasters warning of heavy rains and landslides, including in areas hit by deadly flooding last month.

"Please be on high alert and take every necessary measure," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told cabinet members and officials at a meeting on storm preparedness.

He urged local governments to issue evacuation orders and take other necessary measures "without fear."

Typhoon Cimaron is packing maximum gusts of 216 kilometers per hour, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

It was around 260 kilometers southeast of Ashizuri -- on the coast of Shikoku island -- in western Japan by 0300 GMT on Wednesday, the agency added.

The typhoon is expected to make landfall late Thursday and head north through Friday morning, bringing intensifying wind and rain.

"Please remain vigilant for landslides, inundation of low ground, flooding of rivers, storms, and high and tidal waves," the weather agency said.

Meteorological agency chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora warned the typhoon could bring "multiple hazardous phenomena" such as violent wind and high tides "simultaneously at night."

"Please evacuate early," he said at a press conference.

Some parts of central Japan could see up to 800 millimeters  of rain in the 24 hours to noon Friday, the agency said. 

The areas at risk include parts of the country still recovering from flooding and landslides caused by record rains in July that killed over 200 people.

Several cities and towns started to issue evacuation advisories, with television footage showing residents of Okayama, one of areas worst hit by last month's deadly flooding, working to pile up sandbags.

Some trains have suspended operations and more than 100 flights were cancelled, most of them domestic routes, reports said.

The approach of Cimaron comes as Typhoon Soulik was already bringing heavy rain to parts of the main southern island of Kyushu.

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