Strongest typhoon in quarter century hits Japan

Map of Typhoon Jebi

The typhoon will first reach the east coast of Japan

Japan is bracing for a powerful typhoon which is now carving a path towards Japan's southern Pacific coast, the weather agency here said Monday, warning that the typhoon could make landfall on Tuesday and be the most powerful typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years.

Typhoon Jebi, the 21st storm of the season, is packing winds of up to 252 kph (156 mph) and had a barometric pressure of 935 hectopascals as of 3 p.m. Sunday, according to the Meteorological Agency.

Jebi's projected path appears to cover the Chugoku region, where record rainfall in July unleashed flooding and landslides that killed around 220 people, marking Japan's worst weather-related disaster in decades.

"This is (the strongest) since 1993".

The storm comes as some 27,000 people in Nagato in western Japan were temporarily ordered to evacuate their homes on Saturday due to torrential rain.

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The weather agency has called for vigilance against flooding, mudslides and high tides caused by the typhoon as well.

Fearing potentially massive damage, airline companies and railway operators are expected to cancel services on Tuesday.

All Nippon Airways Co. expects to cancel 229 domestic flights, and Japan Airlines Co.

Skymark Airlines Inc and Fuji Dream Airlines expect to cancel 52 and 38 flights respectively.

The Shinkansen bullet train was operating on a reduced schedule and Universal Studios Japan, a popular amusement park near Osaka, was closed.

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The agency also said the storm could produce waves up to 11 metres high around the Kinki region and the south-western island of Shikoku as it approaches the country's mainland.

The storm was bearing down on western Japan and set to make landfall on Shikoku, the smallest main island, before raking across the western part of the largest main island, Honshu, and Osaka, the nation's second-largest city, later on Tuesday.

Some parts are likely to see up to 300mm of rain fall in a 24 hour period with winds gusting up to 216 kilometres per hour.

Japan's capital city Tokyo may also be battered by powerful winds on Tuesday, the agency said, despite the typhoon not tracking a course particularly close to the capital.

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