Japanese officials have told people to stockpile food as they brace for Typhoon Hagibi amid warnings of ferocious 110mph winds, 30ins of rain and 41ft waves.
Most stores, restaurants and other firms in the capital planned to close with Hagibis approaching, and residents were seen stocking up on batteries, bottled water, instant noodles and other food.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that 17,000 police and military troops are ready if needed for rescue operations, as the meteorological agency cautioned that the typhoon could trigger waves as high as 41 feet in coastal cities through Saturday.
Hagibis was advancing north-northwestward with winds of 110 mph gusting to 156 mph on Friday afternoon, the weather agency said.
Rugby World Cup matches and other events were canceled on Saturday, and flights and train services were halted as Typhoon Hagibis approaches.
People use umbrellas to shelter from the rain while walking along Takeshita Street in Tokyo’s Harajuku district on October 11
People shelter from the rain with umbrellas as Japan braces for a powerful typhoon barreling towards Tokyo that has already forced the cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches, disrupted the Suzuka Grand Prix and grounded flights
People cross the road in Tokyo clutching umbrellas to protect them from the rain
People with umbrellas walk along Takeshita Street in Tokyo’s Harajuku district on October 11
Satellite photo taken October 10 by NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite shows typhoon Hagibis approaching Japan
Meteorological Agency official Yasushi Kajihara said Typhoon Hagibis resembled a typhoon that hit the Tokyo region in 1958 with heavy rains and left a half-million houses flooded. More than 1,200 people died in that storm.
‘In order to protect your own life and your loved ones, please try to start evacuating early before it gets dark and the storm becomes powerful,’ Kajihara said at a news conference Friday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet held a disaster management meeting late Friday, vowing to do its utmost to protect people’s lives. He said 17,000 police and military troops are ready if needed for rescue operations.
‘The typhoon could cause power outages, damage to infrastructure and significantly affect people’s lives,’ Abe said.
Map shows predicted path of Typhoon Hagibis as is set to pass through Japan’s east coast Saturday
As Typhoon Hagibis approaches, supermarkets and convenience stores begin to run out of essentials such as bread as people stockpile food
A man walks down a convenience store with an isle of bare shelves after being stockpile essentials
Shoppers look at the bare shelves of a supermarket in Yokohama, Japan on Friday ahead of Typhoon Hagibis
Economy Minister Isshu Sugawara urged hospitals and other public facilities to check their backup power supplies.
Hagibis, which means speed in Filipino, was advancing north-northwestward with winds of 110 mph gusting to 156 mph on Friday afternoon, the weather agency said. It was expected to weaken as it hugs the Pacific coast of Japan’s main island on Saturday, making landfall south of Tokyo and passing out to sea by Sunday afternoon.
The meteorological agency cautioned that the typhoon could trigger waves as high as 41 feet in coastal cities through Saturday.
Up to 30 inches of rain was forecast in the capital region.
A woman walks past empty shelves in a store in Tokyo on October 11 as typhoon Hagibis heads towards the city
Most stores, restaurants and other businesses in Tokyo planned to close as Typhoon Hagibis approaches, and residents were seen stocking up on batteries, bottled water, instant noodles and other food
This convenience store in Yokohama is running out of essential items as residents prepare for the stormy weather ahead
An evacuation advisory was issued early to 7,568 people on Oshima island in the typhoon’s projected path. Shimoda city, west of Tokyo, also issued an advisory to all of its 21,402 residents. Dozens of evacuation centers were opening in coastal towns in Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures.
The storm is expected to disrupt sports and holiday events on the three-day weekend, which includes Sports Day on Monday. Two Rugby World Cup matches – England vs. France and New Zealand vs. Italy – that were to be played Saturday were canceled.
Qualifying for a Formula One auto race in Suzuka was pushed to Sunday. And the Defense Ministry cut a three-day annual navy review to a single day on Monday.
All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines grounded most domestic and international flights scheduled Saturday at the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya airports.
Central Japan Railway Co. said it will cancel all bullet train service between Tokyo and Osaka except for several early Saturday trains connecting Nagoya and Osaka.
A man takes a train ticket displaying information about the status of typhoon Hagibis at Shinjuku station in Tokyo on October 11
High waves caused by Typhoon Hagibis break on the shores of Senjojiki, Shirahama on Friday
At Narita International Airport, officials holding signs written in multiple languages practiced Friday how to escort passengers to relieve congestion caused by flight cancellations, Kyodo News reported.
Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea will be closed Saturday, as will museums, movie theaters and other businesses.
The typhoon is spreading fear especially in Chiba, near Tokyo, which was hit by Typhoon Faxai last month and where homes still are damaged. That typhoon knocked down about 2,000 power poles, at one point leaving more than 900,000 homes without power, triggering concerns about the country’s aging infrastructure system built decades ago.
Chiba city distributed sandbags to shield against flooding and urged residents to make sure they have enough food and water and that their phones are charged. Workers placed huge protective nets over debris from the earlier storm still piled in parts of the city to keep it from being blown away by the new typhoon.