Tropical Storm Meari hits Japan with heavy rain and wind

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TOKYO-

Tropical Storm Meari unleashed heavy rain on Japan’s main island of Honshu as it tracked north towards the capital Tokyo on Saturday, according to Japanese weather officials.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Meari made landfall in Shizuoka prefecture southwest of Tokyo in the afternoon, bringing sudden heavy rains and strong winds to a wide area and triggering lava flow warnings. mud and floods.

More than 72,000 people in the main city of Shizuoka have been ordered to evacuate due to possible landslides.

Meari, packing sustained winds of up to 72 kilometers (45 miles) per hour, passed over Shizuoka and was moving at a speed of around 20 kilometers (12 miles) per hour. The storm was expected to continue north before veering east, swinging over the Pacific Ocean early Sunday.

The Tokyo area was hammered by periodic downpours beginning in the late morning. High wave warnings in coastal areas have been issued for Tokyo, Kanagawa prefecture southwest of Tokyo and other nearby areas.

Authorities have warned against approaching rivers and other waters as levels can rise suddenly. Rainfall is expected to worsen in Tokyo and areas north of Tokyo in the evening, they said. Warnings of flooding, high winds and heavy rain have been issued for the Tokyo area.

Japanese media showed videos of dangerously rising rivers, almost reaching bridges, as rain splashed on homes and people rushed through the streets, clinging to their umbrellas.

Japan is in the midst of Bon’s summer vacation and vacationers are traveling in droves, although some have had to cancel or change their plans.

The 2022 Rock in Japan Festival, which kicked off a week ago in Chiba prefecture east of Tokyo, canceled the event for Saturday, the last day of the outdoor festival, and promised ticket refunds .

All Nippon Airways canceled some local flights in response to the storm. Low-cost carrier Skymark Airlines has also canceled some flights. Bullet train services were delayed and speed limits in Shizuoka tunnels were temporarily lowered as a precaution. Sections of the Tomei Expressway, which connects Tokyo to Nagoya, were temporarily blocked due to heavy rain.

Northern Japan has had heavy rains lately and concerns were growing about landslides. Precipitation is expected to decrease early Sunday in the Tokyo area before affecting northeastern Japan.

The world’s third-largest economy has often seen death and injury caused by seasonal storms and torrential rains that damage dams, blow off roofs and bring down power lines.

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