Japan announced evacuation warnings affecting more than 1 million people and canceled hundreds of flights Tuesday as Typhoon Jebi, the strongest storm to hit the nation in 25 years, battered the country’s west coast.
Jebi, which means “swallow” in Korean, collided with the country’s Shikoku island around noon, with heavy rain and gusting winds recorded at up to 208 km/h (129 mph), Reuters reports. A few hours later, the storm made a second landfall on Honshu, Japan’s main island, and headed north, according to national broadcaster NHK.
Around 3.9 in. of rain fell in Kyoto in the storm’s first hour, with as much as 20 in. expected by noon Wednesday; a few people have already been injured by heavy winds.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Japanese citizens “to take action to protect your lives, including preparing and evacuating early,” while Japan’s weather agency has issued warnings for landslides, flooding and high tides as well as lightning and tornadoes across western Japan, including in major cities Osaka and Kyoto, Agence France-Presse reports.
The weather agency’s chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora said Jebi is the strongest storm to hit Japan since 1993.
The storm has already disrupted transportation services. More than 750 flights have already been cancelled and runways at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport flooded, according to NHK. Train services have also been severely impacted, with bullet trains between Tokyo and Hiroshima and Tokyo and Osaka suspended.
An estimated 177,000 people in western Japan have lost power, Reuters reports, citing the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, though Tokyo is expected to avoid the brunt of the storm. Jebi’s trajectory mirrors that of Typhoon Cimaron, which made landfall on Aug. 23.