Typhoon Jebi makes landfall in Japan, over 600 flights cancelled

Tokyo: Typhoon Jebi, the most powerful typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years, made landfall in Tokushima Prefecture on Tuesday afternoon, the weather office said.

The typhoon has heavily disrupted transportation services, causing cancellation of flights and rail services, as well as some commercial facilities’ operations, Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 600 flights have been cancelled by domestic airlines, and among Japan’s top two carriers, All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. have cancelled 289 and 180 flights.

Typhoon Jebi was packing winds of up to 216 km per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

The agency on Tuesday has warned of torrential rain and powerful gusts of wind across both eastern and western Japan and has urged the public to be vigilant for high waves, potential floods and landslides.

It said the typhoon is likely to pass over the Sea of Japan and move on a northward trajectory.

By Wednesday, it should be downgraded to an extra-tropical cyclone, the JMA said.

At an emergency press briefing on Monday, an official from the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) was quoted as saying that the typhoon has been categorized as “very strong” by the agency and based on the strength of its top winds, it would be the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993.

The Tokaido Shinkansen and Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train lines have been suspended by railway operators and parts of major highways have also been closed, the transport ministry said.

Some stores in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures as well as in other parts of western Japan have shut down operations for the day, as did the Universal Studios theme park in Osaka.

According to the JMA, up to 500 mm of rain is forecast for central Japan and up to 400 mm for western Japan in the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. (Japan time) on Wednesday.

Tokyo, Japan’s capital, is unlikely to be badly affected by Typhoon Jebi, the JMA said.