The strongest typhoon to reach Tokyo in 10 years was expected to slam into the region with full force Wednesday morning, the Meteorological Agency said.
The agency warned of strong winds, high waves and heavy rainfall in wide areas from western to northern Japan, cautioning against extensive transportation disruptions during the morning rush hour.
Generating winds of at least 90 kph as far as 240 km to the east and 190 km to the west of its center, Typhoon Wipha, the 26th of the year, was as powerful as the strong typhoon that crossed the eastern tip of Japan in October 2004, the agency said.
As of 10 p.m., Typhoon Wipha was traveling northeast in the Pacific toward the eastern coast of Honshu main island at a speed of about 45 kph.
It is expected to bring up to 400 mm of rain in the 24 hours through noon Wednesday in the Tokai region surrounding Nagoya as well as 300 mm in the Kanto-Koshin region and 250 mm in the Kinki, Tohoku and Hokuriku regions.
The agency forecast waves of 12 meters high in Kanto and the Izu Islands, and 10 meters high in the Tohoku and Tokai regions.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it was bracing for the storm to hit the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which has seen a rash of radioactive water spills in recent months as it tries to keep its melted reactor cores cool.
“We are making preparations for proper management of contaminated water. . . . We will patrol places that could have inflows of water (from the storm),” a Tepco spokesman said.
Cables and hoses are bundled together, while ground and off-shore work have been halted, he said.
Earlier this month the company announced 430 liters of contaminated water had spilled from a tank as workers tried to remove rainwater dumped at the plant by recent typhoons.
The typhoon forced Japanese and some Asian airlines to cancel flights, mostly on domestic routes, Tuesday afternoon.
Japan Airlines Co. said it will also ground a total of 167 flights, mostly on Wednesday, while All Nippon Airways Co. plans to ground 197 flights.
East Japan Railway Co. said it will partially halt its services on the Tohoku, Yamagata, Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen lines departing Wednesday morning.