Typhoon Lan Paralyzes Planes and Trains While Crossing Japan

Typhoon Lan reached the coast of central Japan early Tuesday, grounding flights and halting trains as residents braced for heavy rain, flooding and landslides.

(Bloomberg) — Typhoon Lan reached the coast of central Japan early Tuesday, grounding flights and halting trains as residents braced for heavy rain, flooding and landslides.

Known locally as Typhoon No. 7, the storm has been traversing the archipelago’s central belt since it made landfall south of Osaka around 5 a.m. local time, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, and is expected to pivot north across the Sea of Japan toward the island of Hokkaido.

As it moves through urban centers including Osaka and Kyoto, the typhoon could cause billions of dollars in insured losses, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steven Lam said. The storm is arriving just a week after Typhoon Khanun passed through Okinawa, brushing past the main island on its way to South Korea.

A level 5 evacuation order — 5 being the highest — was issued at 4:40 p.m. to residents in parts of Tottori Prefecture, where a major dam was forced to discharge water after heavy rains threatened to spill over its barriers.

As of Tuesday evening the relatively slow and powerful weather system was heading northwest at 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) per hour, according to JMA. The storm was situated southwest of Fukuchiyama City in Kyoto Prefecture around 4 p.m.

By early afternoon Tuesday, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK had reported 20 injuries across the Kansai region.

SoftBank Corp. said harsh weather was causing connectivity issues with mobile phones and landlines in parts of Mie and Wakayama prefectures. 

Japan Airlines Co. canceled more than 250 flights, impacting 25,800 passengers, while ANA Holdings Inc. canceled 319 flights on Tuesday. 

Around 42,000 buildings within Kansai Electric Power Co.’s area are experiencing power failures as of 6:30 a.m., the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.

Strong winds could be hazardous in the Kanto and Kinki regions beginning Monday night and into the following morning. The agency predicted as much as 350 milliliters of rain Tuesday in Tokai, 300 in Kinki and 2,500 in Chugoku.

Typhoons are becoming more frequent and severe, causing factories to halt production, in addition to the usual disruptions to transportation. At least two people were killed last year when a powerful system passed through Tokyo. 

Manufacturing plants and factories in the area had already been shut down for a national holiday, but grounded flights and suspended trains could be disruptive for travelers heading home. 

Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. suspended some operations on Tuesday. Central Japan Railway said shinkansen will fully resume Wednesday.

A level 3 evacuation issued Tuesday morning to some 26,000 elderly residents in a town in Wakayama Prefecture, due to concerns of heavy rains causing landslides, was lifted in the evening. The Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka will be closed Tuesday.

In 2018, the region suffered more than ¥1 trillion ($6.9 billion) in damages from Typhoon Jebi, which was similar in size but had a faster wind speed at landfall than Lan.

(Updated with current location, Tottori evacuation order, bullet train operations.)

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