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'Protect your lives' from powerful Typhoon Hagibis: Japan weather agency

People are lined up to purchase daily necessities at a supermarket in Kanagawa Ward, Yokohama, on Oct. 11, 2019, before Typhoon Hagibis approaches the Japanese archipelago. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Maruyama)

TOKYO -- The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and experts are advising the public to take precautions and prepare for violent Typhoon Hagibis that is threatening the Japanese archipelago this weekend.

"To protect your own and you loved ones' lives, please evacuate swiftly before winds and rain become strong and it grows dark, and ensure your safety if evacuation advisories are issued by local bodies," Yasushi Kajihara, director of the JMA's Forecast Division, told a news conference on the morning of Oct. 11.

Kajihara warned that the typhoon, this year's 19th, could bring record-breaking rain like that brought by a typhoon in 1958, which caused the Kano River on the Izu Peninsula, central Japan, to overflow and flood its basin, leaving 888 people dead and 381 others missing. He then pointed to the possibility that the agency will issue a heavy rain emergency warning as the typhoon approaches the archipelago.

Tatsuhiko Inomata, a certified weather forecaster with the Japan Weather Association who also is a licensed disaster management expert, said Typhoon Hagibis will likely bring more rain than Typhoon Faxai, which caused massive damage mainly to eastern Japan in September this year.

He advises people to bring indoors all objects that can be easily sent flying before winds and rain become strong, and remove fallen leaves from ditches to prevent water from overflowing.

Inomata also urges people to prepare batteries for radio sets and flashlights. He says if bathtubs are filled with water, it will be useful if water supplies are cut off.

Moreover, he says people living near big rivers should shift emergency food they have stockpiled to higher spaces.

"Once rain starts to fall, you shouldn't do outdoor work such as going up to roofs because it's dangerous. You should try to evacuate early," says Inomata.

Chiba Prefecture, hit particularly hard by Typhoon Faxai, announced a five-point advisory for local residents; evacuate early, stockpile at least three days' worth and possibly one week's worth of water, food and batteries among other daily necessities, fill their cars' fuel tanks, make sure the ways to communicate with their families and acquaintances and pay close attention to the latest weather information.

The JMA is asking the public to check hazard maps released by local governments and confirm areas prone to landslides and floods.

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has advised people through social media to fill their cars' fuel tanks and fully recharge their electric vehicles.

(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Takashima, City News Department, and Hiroyuki Tanaka, Special Reports Department)

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