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Strong Typhoon Jebi makes landfall, disrupts transport in western Japan

Fishing boats sit close together under huge waves triggered by approaching Typhoon Jebi, at a fishing port in Aki, Kochi Prefecture, in western Japan in the morning of Sept. 4, 2018. (Mainichi)

Powerful Typhoon Jebi, which made landfall in southern Tokushima Prefecture and the city of Kobe on the afternoon of Sept. 4, has wreaked havoc on transportation services mainly in affected areas including the Kinki region around Osaka. Local governments in the regions urged residents to evacuate to avoid downpours, landslides, flooding and other natural disasters the very strong storm may trigger in their areas.

Airlines have canceled over 700 domestic and international flights to and from affected areas. Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture has been closed. West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) suspended services on many sections of its lines around the Kinki region that includes Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, including the Tokaido, Sanyo, Fukuchiyama, Tozai, Hanwa, Kosei and Kansai International Airport lines.

Services on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line between Shin-Osaka and Okayama and on the entire Tokaido Shinkansen Line between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka have been suspended.

JR Shikoku completely suspended train services on all of its lines from around 9 a.m., but decided to gradually resume operations. Services on the Hankyu, Hanshin, Keihan, Nankai and Kintetsu railways have been completely stopped.

Ferry services between the Kansai and Shikoku regions were also canceled.

Evacuation orders were issued for 16,207 people in 7,753 households in many areas of Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama and Kagawa prefectures at one point, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Advisories were additionally issued for more than 1 million people in over 550,000 households in extensive areas of Gifu, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama, Tokushima, Kagawa and Kochi prefectures.

Schools in areas that were hit hard by torrential rains in western Japan in early July were closed on Sept. 4 as a safety precaution. In Osaka, Sakai and other cities, classes at all kindergartens, elementary, junior high and high schools were canceled on Sept. 4.

Many department stores in Osaka and Kobe were also closed.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has issued strong wind and high surf warnings in extensive areas from western to eastern Japan and a landslide warning in Nara, Wakayama and Tokushima prefectures.

The JMA has forecasted that tidal levels will rise on the Seto Inland Sea and the Sea of Japan off the Hokuriku region. In particular, the agency warned that a record-breaking high tide could be observed on the Osaka Bay.

The JMA predicts an up to 2.8-meter and 2.7-meter-high tide could be observed off Osaka Prefecture and Hyogo Prefecture, respectively, higher than that in the 1961 Typhoon Nancy that left 194 people dead in Japan.

As of 4 p.m., the typhoon, this year's 21st, was located about 30 kilometers west of the city of Fukui, and moving north-northeast at 65 kilometers per hour. The atmospheric pressure at its center was 965 hectopascals and it was packing winds of up to 35 meters per second, or 126 kilometers per hour. The maximum instantaneous wind speed was 50 meters per second (180 kilometers per hour).

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