Japan advises mass evacuations as powerful storm Krosa looms | News | DW | 15.08.2019
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Japan advises mass evacuations as powerful storm Krosa looms

The tropical storm has forced the cancellations of hundreds of flights and trains in Japan, and the government has warned more than 400,000 to prepare to evacuate. The travel chaos comes amid peak tourism season.

Parts of western Japan were hit with heavy rainfall on Thursday as Krosa made its way to the coast. Krosa, labeled a severe tropical storm — one step below a typhoon — was headed towards the island of Shikoku with sustained winds of up to 108 kilometers per hour (67 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 162 kilometers per hour.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said landfall was likely in the early afternoon.

Read more: Weather forecasters put climate change on their maps

Authorities issued an evacuation advisory to more than 400,000 people in the storm's direct path. "Given the predictions of record rains and high winds, we'd like to ask people in the affected areas to avoid going outside if they can, and to make early preparations to evacuate if needed according to directions of the local authorities, Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary, told reporters.

Eighteen people, including a child, became stranded during a barbecue in a valley on Wednesday when a river rose suddenly. They were forced to evacuate to higher ground and were due to be rescued Thursday.

Heavy waves pound a sea wall during tropical storm Krosa (picture-alliance/Kyodo)

The high winds and heavy seas prompted hundreds of flight, train and ferry cancellations

Travel disruptions

Krosa has sparked travel chaos as the end of the country's Obon summer holiday period.

More than 600 domestic flights were canceled and bullet train services were halted or significantly reduced in western Japan. Ferries connecting Shikoku island to other parts of the country were also canceled due to high waves caused by the storm.

Read more: Between deluge and drought, freshwater sources are struggling to replenish

Krosa weakened significantly earlier this week when it stalled in the Pacific Ocean. However, the storm has an unusually large eye, which means it is likely to dump rain over a wide area. It is also slow-moving, so the rain could last for an extended period of time.

More than 200 people died last year in Japan due to torrential rains and flooding.

dr/kl (Reuters, AFP)

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