Typhoon Francisco heads for Kyushu

Kyodo, Staff Report

The season’s 27th typhoon, named Francisco, is approaching southern Kyushu and the Okinawa islands, the Meteorological Agency said Thursday.

The Daito islet chain, east of Okinawa’s main island, has been struck by a storm with wind speeds of 90 kph, the agency said.

The agency said southern Kyushu and Okinawa might be hit by strong winds and waves.

The typhoon was located some 150 km west-southwest of Minami-Daito Island, about 400 km east of Okinawa Island, and moving north-northwest as of noon Thursday, the agency said. It is packing gusts of up to 180 kph, the agency said.

At the day’s news conference, state minister in charge of disaster management Keiji Furuya asked people to promptly evacuate areas in the typhoon’s path.

The typhoon is expected to travel along the southern coast of Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu, and may bring heavy rain to eastern and western Japan over the weekend, the agency said.

The agency called for more vigilance in the face of the approaching typhoon on Izu-Oshima Island, some 120 km south of Tokyo. Oshima was hard hit last week by the season’s 26th typhoon, Wipha.

That typhoon brought heavy rain that caused mudslides, leaving 30 residents dead and 14 others missing.

The weather agency said it expects 50 mm of rain per hour may fall in Okinawa Prefecture.

Up to 50-60 mm of rainfall per hour may hit Kyushu and Shikoku on Thursday, the agency said, and similar levels of heavy rain may fall on Shikoku and the Kinki region centering on Osaka on Friday.

On Thursday, the village of Morotsuka in northern Miyazaki Prefecture recorded 47 mm of rain per hour. About 300 mm of rain fell in the city of Saiki, Oita Prefecture, in the 24 hours through Thursday morning.

The weather agency said about 300 mm of rain may fall on Shikoku and 200 mm in the Kinki region and the Tokai region centering on Nagoya in the 24 hours through Friday noon.

It issued a landslide alert to the city of Tsukumi, Oita Prefecture.

Gusts of 127.8 kph hit Minami-Daito airport.

The more powerful Typhoon Lekima, the 28th of the season, is approaching the Ogasawara Islands some 1,000 km south of Tokyo, packing gusts of 306 kph. The typhoon is not expected to hit Honshu, it said.

Meanwhile, organizers of major events set for this weekend in the Kanto region said Thursday they were still undecided as to whether to go ahead with their plans.

Tokyo Designers Week 2013, scheduled to kick off at Meiji Jingu Gaien stadium near Shinanomachi Station on the Sobu Line on Saturday, will probably be held as planned unless hit by strong winds, its organizer said, adding rainfall alone wouldn’t lead to its cancellation. The final decision will be announced on its website Saturday morning.

Organizers of Koenji Fes 2013, scheduled to start Saturday in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward, were likewise uncertain of the event’s fate. Most of its alfresco programs, including appearances of “yuru-kyara” cute mascots, will probably be called off should it rain hard, but no cancellation is expected of indoor programs unless winds are fiercely strong.