Typhoon bears down on Tokyo and northeast Japan coast, flights disrupted

Passersby using an umbrella struggle against a heavy rain and wind as Typhoon Shanshan approaches Japan's mainland in Tokyo, Japan August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) – A powerful typhoon was approaching Tokyo on Wednesday evening, threatening Pacific coastal regions to the northeast of the capital with heavy rains and high winds, leading to flight cancellations and evacuation advisories in some areas.

The center of typhoon “Shanshan”, a Chinese girl’s name, was located 200 km (125 miles) southeast of Tokyo as of 9:00 p.m. (8.00 a.m. ET), and is expected to move north along the east coast of Japan’s main island on Thursday, possibly snarling the morning rush hour.

The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that Tokyo and surrounding areas could get as much as 300 mm (12 inches) of rain in the 24 hours to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, with winds gusting as high as 180 kmh (111 mph).

Shanshan is expected to move slowly, meaning heavy rain may fall in one area for an extended period, the agency said.

The city of Mobara, east of Tokyo, issued an evacuation advisory for its entire population of about 90,000 people.

Several other municipalities near Tokyo also issued evacuation advisories for some residents, bringing the total number of people affected to more than 100,000, according to public broadcaster NHK.

NHK also said airlines had canceled more than 160 flights.

The western Japan regions hit by deadly floods in July look set to be spared any damage from the typhoon as it winds its way up the northeastern coast.

Japan has experienced one weather disaster after another since the start of July, including a record-breaking heatwave that saw temperatures surge to 41.1 Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) and had killed at least 132 people as of August 5.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies, Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Perry and Hugh Lawson)