Flood warnings issued as typhoon nears Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – A typhoon was approaching Tokyo on Thursday, forcing local flight, train and ferry cancellations and sparking fears of flooding, landslides and high winds in and around the Japanese capital.

Typhoon Fitow, whose name means “beautiful fragrant flower” in a Micronesian language, was about 245 km (153 miles) south of Tokyo as of 8 p.m. (7 a.m. EDT).

Television pictures showed huge waves crashing on the shores of small Pacific islands, south of Tokyo. The storm was moving north at 20 km (12 miles) an hour, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said, bringing with it winds gusting up to 180 km (110 miles) an hour.

Public broadcaster NHK said at least six people had been injured.

The Meteorological Agency warned of possible flooding across a wide area, including western Tokyo. It said the typhoon was expected to dump up to 400 millimeters (16 inches) of rain on the city.

NHK said at least 100 homes had been flooded and about 13,000 homes had been left without electricity.

Landslides caused by heavy rainfall in Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo, destroyed several buildings, NHK said.

All ferries from Tokyo to southern islands were cancelled, the broadcaster said, while some trains in areas around the capital were also cancelled.

Some schools in Tokyo cancelled classes on Thursday in anticipation of the typhoon and told students to come in late on Friday because of possible transport snarls.

British-based Web site Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com) said Fitow was currently a category 2 typhoon on the scale of 5.

Fitow is then expected to veer northeast, potentially causing havoc across northern Japan as it fades into a tropical storm.

In July, a powerful typhoon killed three people and injured more than 70 after it hit the southern Japan island of Kyushu and moved along the country’s eastern coastline.

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