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Typhoon Jongdari feared to cause secondary disaster in rain-ravaged western Japan

Powerful Typhoon Jongdari, which is moving north along the ocean to the south of Japan, will likely turn westward, approaching the Kanto region, then making landfall in the Tokai region in central Japan from the night of July 28 into the early hours of July 29, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has predicted.

It is extremely rare that a typhoon, which usually moves east in the summer, is expected to move west along the Japanese archipelago.

The JMA has warned that the typhoon may cause secondary disasters in areas affected by the northern Osaka Prefecture earthquake in June and in regions that were ravaged by torrential rains in early July, and are calling on the public to not hesitate to evacuate.

As of 1 p.m. on July 28, the typhoon, this year's 12th, was located about 150 kilometers east of Hachijo Island, south of central Tokyo, and moving northwest at about 45 kilometers per hour. Its central atmospheric pressure was 970 hectopascals and the typhoon packed winds of up to 35 meters per second (126 kilometers per hour).

Over the 24-hour period ending at noon on July 29, the typhoon is expected to cause massive rainfall of up to 400 millimeters in the Kanto-Koshin and Tokai regions in eastern and central Japan, respectively, 300 millimeters in Shikoku, 200 millimeters each in the Kinki and Chugoku regions in western Japan, and 150 millimeters each in Tohoku, in northeastern Japan, and in Hokuriku, with is located along the coast of the Sea of Japan in central Japan.

The forecasted maximum wind speed through July 29 is 35 meters per second (126 kph) in Tokai and Kinki, 30 meters per second (108 kph) in Kanto, around Tokyo, and 25 meters per second (90 kph) in the Chugoku and Shikoku regions.

The Kurashiki Municipal Government in Okayama Prefecture secured evacuation shelters for 1,300 people, including those that have already been established to accommodate residents who had to leave their homes due to massive flooding just a few weeks ago. In the city's Mabicho district, about 4,600 houses were flooded after water overflowed from swollen rivers as a result of torrential rains in early July. Fire trucks and other vehicles are going around calling on the public to take precautions in light of Typhoon Jongdari, and the city government has also prepared three buses to swiftly evacuate residents.

"If necessary, we would like to encourage residents to evacuate quickly, even if the water levels of rivers in the city haven't yet reached an alarming level," a city official said.

The municipal government of Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, which was hard-hit by the June earthquake measuring a lower-6 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale, is considering designating 16 public facilities including community centers as evacuation shelters.

The Hiroshima Municipal Government's disaster volunteer headquarters will suspend its four volunteer centers' disaster relief activities from July 28 to 30. Local bodies in areas hit by torrential rains will also do so because of the typhoon. The Kurashiki Municipal Government's disaster volunteer headquarters is also suspending volunteer relief activities during the same period.

A man piles sandbags along a river in Hiroshima's Aki Ward, on the morning of July 28, 2018, in preparation for the coming typhoon. (Mainichi)

In Hiroshima's Aki Ward, which was struck by large-scale landslides triggered by the torrential rains earlier this month, a man was seen piling up sandbags along a river.

A 47-year-old resident of Kurashiki's Mabicho district expressed fears of a possible secondary disaster: "I'm worried about flooding because the breached riverbanks haven't been repaired."

Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki told an emergency news conference, "I'd like residents to evacuate on July 28 before it grows dark, and take action to protect their lives. There are fears of landslides even in areas that weren't hit by the torrential rains."

The typhoon has wreaked havoc on transportation systems in many areas. Japan's two leading airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, have cancelled at least 96 domestic flights. West Japan Railway Co. is calling on passengers to go home earlier on July 28 because the company may end service two to three hours earlier than usual in areas around the Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe metropolitan area.

The Chugoku Regional Development Bureau of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry and West Nippon Expressway Co. said they also may close national routes and expressways as early as July 28.

(Japanese original by Akihiko Tsuchida and Hayaki Takeda, Osaka City News Department; Itsuo Tokubo, Hiroshima Bureau; and Kazuhiko Kobayashi, Kurashiki Local Bureau)

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