Japan braces for biggest storm in decades

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Japan is bracing itself for Typhoon Hagibis, the most powerful storm to hit the country in 60 years, to make landfall near Tokyo later on Saturday.

The country is already feeling the effects, with some areas already flooded, tens of thousands of homes without power, and one person dead.

Winds of 180km/h (111mph) could cause further flooding and landslides, the Japan Meteorological Agency has warned.

Some Rugby World Cup matches and Formula One races have been cancelled.

Authorities have issued evacuation advisories in areas at particular risk, while supermarkets are running low as people stock up before the typhoon hits.

Flights and trains have been shut down, while shops and factories have also been closed.

Even while the storm was still out to sea, tornado-like winds battered Chiba, east of Tokyo, damaging homes and toppling a car, killing its occupant.

Typhoon Hagibis
Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog, is forecast to hit the main Japanese island of Honshu.

It could be the strongest storm the country has faced since Kanogawa Typhoon in 1958, which left more than 1,200 people dead or missing.

“The typhoon could bring record-level rainfall and winds,” an official at the meteorological agency said, citing the risk of floods and landslides.

Effects of the typhoon
The typhoon has made headlines due to its disruption of the Rugby World Cup and Japanese Grand Prix.

Two World Cup games billed for Saturday have already been cancelled, and declared as draws, while Formula 1 has cancelled all activities at the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday.

But the impact on the local population could be serious.

People have been stocking up on provisions for the coming days on the advice of authorities, leaving supermarkets with empty shelves.

Only last month, Typhoon Faxai wreaked havoc on parts of the country, damaging 30,000 homes, most of which have not yet been repaired.

Evacuation centres have been opened in some coastal areas.

Transport systems have also been affected, with bullet trains and flights cancelled

 

Nneka Ukachukwu