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Typhoon Cimaron to pound western Japan, evacuation instructions issued

This screenshot of the Japan Meteorological Agency website shows the expected course of Typhoon Cimaron in the coming days.

TOKYO -- Strong Typhoon Cimaron came closer to Japan on Aug. 23, expected to make landfall in the western region of Shikoku early in the night, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

The tropical cyclone is forecasted to dump massive amounts of rain and bring intense gusts in the region, and local governments of areas in the typhoon's projected path issued evacuation advisories and instructions to residents hours before the storm's arrival. Many of the cities and towns were devastated by historic torrential rains and subsequent flooding and landslides in early July. Train and air traffic services were also suspended on Aug. 23 to avert possible damage caused by the season's 20th typhoon.

Flooding and landslides are feared in areas where the typhoon is expected to hit, and the JMA has advised residents to be on their guard against such natural disasters. In a message on Aug. 23, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for early evacuations and for people to take measures to limit damage.

The amount of rain forecast to fall over the 24-hour period ending 6 p.m. on Aug. 24 is 500 millimeters in the Shikoku and Kinki regions, and 400 millimeters in the Tokai region in central Japan. Rainfall is expected to reach 250 millimeters in the Kanto-Koshin region in the eastern part of the country and 200 millimeters in the Chugoku region in the west.

In the Chugoku and Tokai regions, it is predicted that the total amount of rain to fall in localized downpours since the arrival of the previous typhoon, Soulik, could reach 1,000 millimeters.

Winds of up to 40 meters per second (144 kilometers per hour) are expected in the Shikoku region by Aug. 24, with maximum gusts of up to 60 m/s (216 kph). The Kinki and Chugoku regions are forecast to have winds reaching speeds of 35 m/s (126 kph), while the Tokai region and the northwestern region of Hokuriku are likely to have winds of up to 25 m/s (90 kph).

Storm surges are also expected mainly in western Japan through the predawn hours of Aug. 24, with maximum surges of 2.7 meters in Hyogo Prefecture, 2.6 meters in Okayama Prefecture, 2.2 meters in Kagawa and Osaka prefectures, and 2.1 meters in Tokushima and Kochi prefectures.

As of 4 p.m. on Aug. 23, Cimaron was located at some 120 kilometers south of Cape Muroto in Kochi Prefecture in southern Shikoku and was heading north-northwest at a speed of 35 kph. Its central atmospheric pressure was 955 hectopascals. The maximum wind speed near its center was 40 m/s (144 kps), with gusts of up to 60 m/s (216 kph).

Evacuation orders have been issued to some areas of the Ehime Prefecture city of Seiyo, and evacuation advisories to many districts of Kochi Prefecture, including the city of Kochi, Otoyo, Nankoku and Muroto, as well as in some areas of Osaka Prefecture. Other local bodies including the prefectural governments of Kochi, Tokushima, Wakayama and Ehime, Nara and Hyogo have recommended that residents in some areas prepare to evacuate.

Hiroshima Prefecture, which was hit heavily by the July torrential rains, set up a disaster countermeasures task force on Aug. 23 and instructed municipal governments under its jurisdiction to issue evacuation advisories or orders at an early stage and take other measures to prevent secondary damage.

"The typhoon will likely approach the prefecture in the middle of the night. It's difficult to flee after it grows dark. We'd like residents to take shelter in solid buildings or evacuation shelters before it gets dark," Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki said.

West Japan Railway Co. suspended some train services in the afternoon of Aug. 23, including total suspension of some sections. It also moved up the running times for the day's last trains in some cases as a precaution for the approaching typhoon. Affected lines include the Kansai, Kusatsu, Hokuriku, Biwako, Kosei, Kyoto, Kobe and Sanyo Honsen lines.

According to Kansai Airports, the operator of three airports in the Kansai region in western Japan, at least 52 domestic flights were cancelled at Kansai International Airport, while 76 flights were suspended at Osaka Airport. Ferry services in western Japan such as those connecting Shikoku and the Kinki region were largely canceled for the day.

The JMA has issued windstorm warnings in many areas of the western prefectures of Hyogo, Okayama, Wakayama, Tottori, Kawaga, Tokushima, Kochi, Ehime, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima. It has also issued strong wind advisories in extensive areas of western Japan, including Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane, Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Saga. The agency said the sea in western Japan will remain rough because of the typhoon.

Additionally, the JMA has released heavy rain warnings or advisories in many areas of the prefectures of Nara, Wakayama, Mie, Tottori, Kagawa, Kochi, Tokushima, Ehime, Oita, Miyazaki and Kumamoto.

(Mainichi)

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