Typhoon Hagibis: Largest Japan storm in decades makes landfall
Typhoon Hagibis: Torrential rain and tornado-like winds are lashing large parts of Japan, as the country endures what could be its worst storm for 60 years.
The eye of Typhoon Hagibis made landfall shortly before 19:00 local time (10:00 GMT) in Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo.
It’s currently moving up the eastern shore, with wind speeds of 225 km/h (140 mph).
Over seven million people are encouraged to leave their homes amid severe flood and landslide warnings.
Train services have been halted, and over a million flights grounded. 1 man was killed in Chiba, east of Tokyo, when high winds turned his vehicle.
Thousands of homes lost electricity in and around the capital, though some were quickly reconnected.
Two Rugby World Cup games scheduled for Saturday have been cancelled and announced as draws – England-France and New Zealand-Italy. Formula 1 has also cancelled qualifying races for Saturday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Japanese Grand Prix qualifying postponed
Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) has warned half a metre of rain could fall on the Tokyo region between midday on Saturday and Sunday.
“Unprecedented heavy rain was seen in cities, towns and villages where the emergency warning has been issued,” JMA forecaster Yasushi Kajiwara told a media briefing.
“The possibility is high that disasters such as landslides and floods have occurred. It’s important to take action which may help save your own lives.”
‘A blanket and a biscuit’
Residents are now trapped in evacuation centers, trying to protect themselves from the damaging weather.
James Babb talked to the BBC from a center in Hachioji, western Tokyo. He said the river near his home was on the verge of overflowing.
“I’m with my sister-in-law, who’s handicapped,” he said. “Our home may flood. They’ve given us a blanket and a biscuit.”
Andrew Higgins, an English teacher who lives in Tochigi, north of Tokyo, told the BBC he had “lived through a few typhoons” during seven years in Japan.
“I feel like this time Japan, normally, has taken this typhoon far more seriously,” he said. “People were out preparing . A good deal of people were stocking up”
What else do we know about the typhoon?
Hagibis, which means”rate” in the language Tagalog, is predicted to hit the key Japanese island of Honshu.
Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones: What is the difference?
It might be the most powerful storm the nation has faced since Kanogawa Typhoon in 1958, which left more than 1,200 people dead or missing.
By Saturday afternoon local time, pictures and footage revealed many rivers were close to breaching their banks.
Typhoon Hagibis first made headlines due to its disturbance of the Rugby World Cup and Japanese Grand Prix. But the effect on the local population is very severe.
Locals stocked up on provisions before the typhoon’s coming on the authorities’ information, leaving supermarkets with empty shelves.
Just last month Typhoon Faxai wreak havoc on parts of Japan, damaging 30,000 houses, the majority of which haven’t yet been repaired.
“I evacuated because my roof had been ripped off from another typhoon and rain came in. I’m so concerned about my home,” a 93-year-old guy told Japan’s national broadcaster NHK, from a refuge in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture.
Only over 50,000 people took the official guidance to evacuate to shelters, according to the AFP news agency.