Tokyo, Oct 10 (efe-epa).- Japan’s east coast was bracing itself Saturday for the arrival of Typhoon Chan-hom, which has caused torrential downpours and forced the cancellation of domestic flights.
The 14th typhoon of the season in the Pacific Ocean was initially tracking to make landfall in eastern Japan but changed direction overnight to head northeast, parallel with the coastline.
The storm, which has yet not left any victims or structural damage, dumped some 500 millimeters of rain – more than the average for the whole month of October – on the islets of Izu, south of Tokyo, and Wakayama prefecture, west of the capital city, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency.
The islands of Izu, which are part of the capital administrative region and are home to about 30,000 people, are currently being hit hardest by the storm. The highest weather alert is in effect there due to the threat of landslides.
Authorities have also warned of the risk of floods, strong waves and wind gusts of up to 140 kilometers per hour in several prefectures in the center of the country and on the eastern coast, including Tokyo and other neighboring areas.
Japanese airline ANA and JAL announced the cancellation of a dozen domestic flights between Osaka in the west, Tokyo’s Haneda airport and the southwestern island of Okinawa, among others.
Train services have not been affected for the moment, although operator East Japan Railway had warned of possible delays due to the inclement weather.
The typhoon has meant thousands of Japanese have cancelled weekend holiday plans, despite a government scheme to boost domestic tourism and travel, sectors that have been severely damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Images from beaches in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures near Tokyo show largely deserted beaches, save for a few surfers taking advantage of the large waves generated by the storm.
Chan-hom is forecast to continue moving eastwards throughout the rest of Saturday into Sunday before changing direction southwards, progressively weakening as it moves away from the Japanese archipelago. EFE-EPA