Japan issues highest typhoon alert as Halong approaches

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 August, 2014, 6:45am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 August, 2014, 6:45am


Japan's weather agency yesterday issued its highest alert as Typhoon Halong barrelled towards its southwest, warning of heavy rain and strong winds from a storm that has grounded more than 470 flights.

The warning means that the storm poses a threat to life and could inflict massive damage from torrential rain and strong winds, the meteorological agency said.

The alert was issued for Mie prefecture, some 300km west of Tokyo, as the outer bands of the storm were already lashing the region and other areas of southwestern Japan, the agency said.

Halong, packing winds of up to 180km/h, was likely to make landfall in southwestern Japan late yesterday or early today, according to the agency.

Television footage showed high waves triggered by the typhoon splashing over breakwaters and muddy torrents roaring down a swollen river.

Storms and torrential rain last week left one dead and four injured, public broadcaster NHK said. At least 473 flights were cancelled because of the typhoon, which came just as the annual Obon holiday began, NHK said.

Over the next 24 hours, the storm was expected to dump 700mm of rain on the southwestern island of Shikoku, forecasters said.

Halong comes a month after Typhoon Neoguri killed several people and left a trail of destruction in southern Japan.