Typhoon Shanshan spares most of Tokyo, and commuters, as it crawls north off Pacific coast

Kyodo, Reuters

Typhoon Shanshan slowly moved northward off the Pacific coast of Japan on Thursday after mostly missing Tokyo, with the weather agency now warning of heavy rain and high waves in the eastern and northeastern regions of the country.

But the Meteorological Agency said the storm was no longer a “strong” typhoon as its wind speed had slowed. It is expected to gradually shift course eastward and lose more of its strength.

On Wednesday, the weather agency had warned of possible mudslides and flooding, prompting some municipalities to call on residents to evacuate. But no major damage was reported and there was no widespread disruption to traffic in Tokyo.

The agency forecast gusty winds in northeastern coastal areas through Thursday night and stormy conditions in adjacent waters through Friday.

As of 1 p.m., the typhoon was about 40 kilometers off Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, traveling north at a speed of 20 kph with an atmospheric pressure of 980 hectopascals at its center. It was packing gusts of up to 162 kph, according to the weather agency.

Around 100 domestic flights were canceled along with some trains, and there were about 2,000 households without power, but Tokyo’s vast transportation system was operating mostly as usual.

On Wednesday, four people were injured, including an 82-year-old woman who fell due to strong wind and broke her leg in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Since Wednesday, 157 millimeters of rain had been recorded in the city of Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, 147 mm in the city of Fukushima and 145 mm in the city of Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Winds of up to 162 kph are expected in the east and northeast, with rainfall of 120 mm in the northeast in the 24-hour period through noon Friday.

Japan has suffered from one natural disaster after another in the last six weeks, including a deadly heat wave that has left at least 120 dead around the nation. The heat returned to Tokyo on Thursday, with highs of 33 degrees predicted for the next few days.