NORTHERN Japan is bracing for a powerful typhoon that is expected to slam into an area previously hit by the massive tsunami in 2011, bringing with it the potential for severe flooding.
Typhoon Lionrock has already paralyzed traffic, caused blackouts and prompted officials to urge residents to evacuate. As of midafternoon Tuesday, it was off the Fukushima coast, packing winds up to 126 kilometers (78 miles) per hour.
The storm, which is the 10th this season, is expected to make landfall later Tuesday.
More than 50 flights have been canceled at the region’s main airport in Sendai. Bullet trains in the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions are to be suspended later Tuesday.
At the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was destroyed in the 2011 disaster, some outdoor decommissioning work was suspended as a precaution.
According to Accuweather.com, the storm surge could reach 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) in certain locations.
The typhoon is also expected to move northward over the open waters of the northern Pacific Ocean, which posed hazards to maritime interests.
The weather site reported that the storm was past its peak intensity and will continue on a weakening trend. However, the typhoon still poses dangerous threats to the region.
“Wherever this landfall point ends up being, there will be locally damaging winds and flooding rainfall,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Becky Elliott was quoted as saying.
“The coast will also be pounded by rough surf and an inundating storm surge.”
The atmospheric conditions are unstable in the Tokai and Kanto regions, Japan Times reported.
Neighboring areas were also seeing heavy showers Tuesday morning. Authorities have also issued landslide warnings in the Saitama prefecture and other areas.
Typhoon Lionrock comes barely a week after an earlier storm swept through Tokyo and surrounding areas, leaving over 400 flights cancelled, and affecting train services services as well.
Typhoon Mindulle has affected some 49,000 passengers and claimed at least two lives in storm-related incidences.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press