Typhoon Trami cripples Okinawa, threatens Japan's main islands

Sunday, 30 Sep, 2018

The weather agency warned people across Japan to be on alert for strong winds, high waves and heavy rain.

A vessel tilts on one side as it runs ashore at a pier as a typhoon approached Yonabaru, Okinawa prefecture, southern Japan on Saturday.

Japan issued evacuation orders and warnings to about 700,000 households in southern and western Japan.

The almost-empty Kansai International Airport is seen on Sunday after being shut down due to the storm in Izumisano, Osaka prefecture, western Japan.

Nationwide, authorities have issued non-compulsory evacuation advisories to 1.5 million residents, according to public broadcaster NHK, and officials urged people across the country to stay indoors.

Many flights were cancelled at major airports throughout Japan, including Tokyo's Narita and Haneda.

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.

It was then expected to move in a northeasterly direction through eastern and northern Japan on October 1.

As of noon September 29, the typhoon was about 40 kilometers south-southeast of Okinawa's Kumejima island and moving northward at a speed of 20 kph. Tokyo's train lines announced they were shutting down after 8pm (6pm in Thailand).

The storm cut power to about 200,000 homes on Japan's southern islands, and uprooted tress and overturned vehicles as it pummeled Okinawa city. Jebi was considered to be the strongest storm to hit the nation in 25 years and caused over $2 billion in damages. The terminal building was closed for the day and the monorail as well as bus service to the airport were also suspended. And most of local trains and bullet trains in western areas will suspend operations on Sunday, operator West Japan Railway said.

If the forecast holds, it will be the latest in a series of extreme natural events to strike Japan.

Five people suffered injuries in storm-related accidents in Okinawa, but no one was feared dead, local officials said.

Trami comes at the end of a summer of disasters in Japan that included Jebi, flooding and heatwaves.

The typhoon is expected to retain all its force as it approaches western Japan, and will likely make landfall around the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture on the evening of September 30.

There have already been heavy downpours in large areas of western and eastern Japan, including the capital, as the storm spurred a seasonal rain front.