A strong tropical storm is lashing parts of Japan and disrupting holiday travel


A strong tropical storm is lashing central and western Japan with heavy rain and high winds, causing flooding and power blackouts and paralyzing transportation while many people were traveling for a Buddhist holiday week

The storm weakened from Typhoon Lan early in the morning and made landfall near Cape Shionomisaki in the central prefecture of Wakayama, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It had sustained winds of up to 108 kph (68 mph) as it headed northwest to cut across the region before veering east toward Hokkaido over waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, the JMA said.

No casualties have been reported, but the storm has caused rivers to overflow, damaged some buildings and paralyzed traffic. In Maizuru, in northern Kyoto, a flooded river sent muddy water flowing into some houses. In Nara, just south of Kyoto, scaffolding on one building collapsed, and a partial wall collapse a train station in Tsuruhashi, in Osaka prefecture, halted local train services.

Local municipalities advised more than 180,000 residents in the region to take shelter at safer buildings such as community centers.

Up to 35 centimeters (13.7 inches) of rainfall was forecast in the Tokai region in central Japan through Wednesday morning. The JMA urged residents in the area to avoid unessential outings and warned of potential mudslides, flooding and thunderstorms.

More than 50,000 homes were without power in nine prefectures in the central and western regions, including Osaka, Wakayama, Mie and Kyoto.

The storm, hitting Japan in the middle of the Bon Buddhist holiday week, affected many Japanese who were traveling to visit their families and relatives, as transportation and event operators in the storm’s predicted path have decided to suspend services through Tuesday.

Central Japan Railway Co. said Shinkansen bullet train operations between Nagoya in central Japan and Okayama in western Japan was to be suspended Tuesday, and service between Tokyo and Nagoya was reduced. Expressways in the region were also closed, and hundreds of domestic flights were cancelled on Tuesday.

Representatives from several prefectures canceled their plans to attend an annual memorial marking the Aug. 15 end of World War II. Games scheduled to be played Tuesday in Japan’s hugely popular annual high school baseball tournament, held at Koshien stadium in Hyogo prefecture, were postponed to Wednesday.

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