September 30, 2018 / 3:55 AM / 17 days ago

Powerful typhoon nears Tokyo after losing some strength

TOKYO (Reuters) - A powerful typhoon headed toward Tokyo late Sunday night after battering western Japan with heavy rain and strong winds, snarling air and land traffic, causing power outages, and forcing evacuations from areas still recovering from recent typhoons.

Typhoon Trami lost some strength after making landfall near Tanabe City, 450 km (280 miles) southwest of Tokyo, earlier in the evening, prompting the Japan Meteorological Agency to downgrade it to a “strong” typhoon from an “extremely strong” one.

Kansai International Airport in Osaka, western Japan, which was heavily flooded by a typhoon in early September, said it had closed its runways from 11 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Sunday until 6 a.m. on Monday. The airport only fully reopened on Sept. 21.

Airlines canceled more than 1,200 flights, public broadcaster NHK said. And most local trains and bullet trains in central and western areas suspended operations on Sunday, operators West Japan Railway and Central Japan Railway said.

A note written in several languages, announcing last train services ending earlier due to Typhoon Trami, is displayed at East Japan Railway Company's station in Tokyo, Japan, September 30, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

East Japan Railway said it would halt all train services in the Tokyo metropolitan area from 8 p.m. on Sunday and operations of some bullet trains were also suspended. Tokyo Metro announced it would suspend operation of some subway trains from 9 p.m.

Evacuation orders and advisories were issued for at least 1.7 million households nationwide, said NHK, adding that more than 37,000 households in and around Tokyo were without power.

A woman in her 60s was missing in Miyazaki prefecture, southern Japan, after she was washed away in a paddy irrigation channel, according to NHK. More than 80 people were injured, it also said.

Japan Meteorological Agency issued warnings of landslides and flooding from possible storm surges.

Typhoon Trami, rated category 1 by Tropical Storm Risk, with category 5 the highest, was near central Japan’s industrial city of Nagoya as of 10:00 p.m. (1300 GMT), and the Japan Meteorological Agency expects it will have moved past Tokyo and the surrounding region by early Monday morning.

Slideshow (18 Images)

In early September, Typhoon Jebi, the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years, brought some of the highest tides since a 1961 typhoon and flooded Kansai International Airport, taking it out of service for days.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Perry and Adrian Croft

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