• Kyodo


Typhoon Francisco dumped torrential rain on Shikoku Friday as the Meteorological Agency issued warnings for mudslides and flooding from western to eastern Japan.

The year’s 27th typhoon is expected to dump more than 50 mm of rain per hour on Shikoku and southwestern Kyushu through Friday evening before grinding toward the Izu Islands south of Tokyo on Saturday, the agency said.

As of noon Friday, Francisco was packing winds of 108 kph and moving northeast at a speed of 20 kph, with an atmospheric pressure near its center of 965 hectopascals.

The town of Oshima on Izu-Oshima Island, which was nailed by a fatal typhoon last week, has advised all residents to evacuate to safer places.

At least 31 people were killed by typhoon Wipha last week and 13 others remain missing. The island is around 120 km from Tokyo.

The Meteorological Agency forecast up to 250 mm of rain to fall on Shikoku and the Izu Islands in the 24 hours through Saturday morning, with 200 mm dousing the Kanto-Koshin region, which includes Tokyo, and 180 mm hitting the central Tokai region.

Meanwhile, powerful Typhoon Lekima, the year’s 28th, was moving northward and expected to approach the Ogasawara islet chain some 1,000 km south of Tokyo later Friday, but not expected to hit Honshu.

While Oshima has moved its administrative operations to the town hall, which is situated in an evacuation zone, town officials say the building is strong enough to withstand a typhoon and that staff will only work on the third floor or higher to avoid flooding.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which maintains a generating station on the island, and NTT East Corp. said they will keep crews in place there in case repairs are needed after the storm.

On Friday morning, Oshima residents who were advised to evacuate were busy leaving town. Volunteer firefighters visited the homes of elderly residents to help out, and few expressed any desire to wait around for the advisory to be upgraded to an outright order.

Diner manager Asako Ichimura, 73, meanwhile, was preparing to flee to Oshima High School with her husband, Tadaaki, 80, who requires nursing care. The town has been offering to help those in need of nursing care leave the island with their families, but Ichimura said she refused to go.

“I was nervous about leaving the island and we decided to stay. I hope there won’t be any big damage this time,” Ichimura said.

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