A powerful storm has lashed southwestern Japan with torrential rain and strong winds, injuring at least 49 people, with hundreds of flights cancelled and traffic paralysed during Japan’s Buddhist holiday week.
The heavy rain and damaging winds are expected to accompany Tropical Storm Krosa from Honshu to Hokkaido through Saturday. Seas around Japan will remain dangerously rough for swimmers and boaters.
The Japan Meteorological Agency predicts a total accumulated rainfall of up to 1.2 metres across Japan, as the storm continues to move north.
On Thursday, bullet trains connecting Osaka and Kokura were suspended, and hundreds of domestic flights were grounded, holding up holidaymakers. Warnings for mudslides and landslides were issued in some areas including Nara and Wakayama.
By Thursday night, Yanase in Kochi prefecture on Shikoku had been inundated with more than 850 millimetres of rain.
The meteorological agency issued warnings for Kyushu, Shikoku and southeastern portions of Honshu as early as Wednesday, as Krosa was expected to affect all of Japan’s large islands.
More than 7,000 people across 21 prefectures in the western half of the Japanese archipelago were evacuated to shelters ahead of the storm’s arrival.
Eighteen people were rescued after being stranded while camping on the bank of a swollen river in Oita, The Associated Press news agency reported.
Tropical Storm Krosa is the third major storm to make landfall across mainland Japan in as many weeks, following Tropical Depression Francisco and Tropical Storm Nari.