As Typhoon Lan makes landfall, western Japan prepares for the worst

More than 800 flights were cancelled and tens of thousands of homes lost power as a slow-moving typhoon made landfall in western Japan early on Tuesday, prompting authorities to issue flood and landslide warnings.

Approaching from the Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Lan reached the southern tip of Wakayama prefecture at around 5 a.m.

Lan, which has since been downgraded to a severe tropical storm, lashed wide swathes of central and western Japan with heavy rains and powerful winds.

Power outages hit more than 21,000 households in Mie Prefecture, and thousands more in nearby prefectures, including Osaka, NHK said.

Anticipating the dangerous levels of wind and rain a day earlier, convenience store operator 7-Eleven shuttered more than 100 stores, while Universal Studios Japan in Osaka planned to remain closed all day Tuesday.

Central Japan Railway and West Japan Railway have already canceled all bullet train services between Nagoya and Shin-Osaka stations and those between Shin-Osaka and Okayama stations throughout Tuesday.

Expressway operators have said they may partially close networks in areas likely to be impacted by the typhoon.

Over the next 24 hours, the Tokai region — home of Toyota Motor — was expected to get about 350 mm of rainfall, nearly three times the average rainfall for the month of August. Many factories close during the Bon holidays, when city-dwellers return to their ancestral homes.

Lan had sustained winds of 150 kph and was moving northwest across the western part of the main island of Honshu. It was forecast to reach the Sea of Japan by early Wednesday and continue north along the sea, according to the weather agency.

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