• Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Scores of flights were suspended and rail passengers experienced long delays as a strong typhoon approached Japan's main island of Honshu from the Pacific Ocean.

The 12th typhoon of the season is expected to make landfall around the Tokai or southern Kinki regions late July 28 or before dawn the following day, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It is moving south of Tokyo in a northwesterly direction, the agency said.

As of 11 a.m. on July 28, the storm was about 230 kilometers east of Hachijojima island and moving at 45 kph with winds of 126 kph and momentary maximum gusts of 180 kph. The island, part of the Izu island chain, is about 290 km from central Tokyo.

Its atmospheric pressure at the center was 970 hectopascals.

After making landfall, the typhoon is projected to head toward western Japan, putting Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures in its path. All three prefectures were hit hard by deadly torrential downpours earlier this month.

Eastern Japan can expect heavy rain through the morning of July 29. The same is forecast for western Japan through July 30.

Some areas should brace for 80 millimeters of rainfall per hour, the agency said.

It urged residents in those areas to be extra vigilant against strong winds, high waves, landslides and river flooding.

There was particular concern about western Japan due to fears the downpours could trigger a new disaster.

“Please evacuate (to safe places) as early as possible,” said a JMA official.

In Japan, typhoons usually move from the west to the east, but Typhoon No. 12 is expected to move in the opposite direction.

The amount of precipitation for 24 hours until noon on July 29 is estimated to be up to 400 mm in the Kanto, Koshin and Tokai regions, 300 mm in the Izu islands and Shikoku region, 200 mm in the Kinki and Chugoku regions and 150 mm in the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions.

Maximum wind speeds of 126 kph were forecast in the Izu islands and Tokai and Kinki regions, 108 kph in the Kanto region, 90 kph in the Chugoku and Shikoku regions and 72 kph in the Hokuriku and northern Kyushu regions.

Flights and train schedules were severely affected by the approaching typhoon.

Train services were suspended on the JR Sobu Line in both directions between Asahi and Matsugishi stations, both in Chiba Prefecture, from early morning. Although services resumed soon after 8:30 a.m., trains were delayed for up to three hours and 20 minutes.

East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) also suspended two night trains linking Tokyo and Takamatsu.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai) will also suspend operations from around 9 p.m. between Toyohashi and Maibara stations of the Tokaido Line, between Nagoya and Nakatsugawa stations on the Chuo Line and between Nagoya and Kameyama stations on the Kansai Line.

Nagoya Railroad Co. plans to reduce train operations from around 6 p.m. on all lines and close the service around 9 p.m.

West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) will bring forward the day’s last trains by one to two hours on some of its lines in the Kansai region, such as the Kyoto Line, Kobe Line and Hanwa Line.

As of 1 p.m., All Nippon Airways Co. (ANA) and Japan Airlines Co. (JAL) had suspended a total of 99 flights that depart from or arrive at Narita, Haneda and Chubu airports, inconveniencing about 14,000 people.

Both airlines said they expected to suspend more flights.