A powerful typhoon is headed for Japan this weekend, threatening to cripple Tokyo with the most torrential rains and winds in nearly six decades, reported Reuters.
In a statement Friday morning, meteorologist and owner of Empire Weather, Ed Vallee, said Typhoon Hagibis is expected to hit the Tokai/Kanto region on late Saturday. The likely Category 3 typhoon could then "grind" its way northward through the Tohoku region by late weekend.
"Hagabis is a strong typhoon in the west Pacific, making its way closer to mainland Japan. As of 3 PM Friday, Tokyo time, Hagabis was located due south of Japan. This system will continue to approach through Friday night, Tokyo time, with increasing rain and wind.
Only 4 storms have come within 100 miles of Tokyo as a Category 3 typhoon or higher. At this time, Hagabis will be weakening, and it may be weaker than this strength. Regardless, typhoon conditions are possible Saturday local time as this system passes. This will disrupt air travel, with all Nippon Airways flights expecting to be canceled. Railway systems will also likely be impacted, along with the Rugby World Cup, which has already been canceled. Damage to buildings and power outages are also expected. This storm will move away from the region to end the weekend," the statement said.
Vallee also noted that the storm could be the strongest typhoon to hit Tokyo since the late 1950s.
He said rainfall and winds in the capital could damage critical infrastructure and cause life-threatening situations for its residents on Saturday.
The Japanese government said shopping districts, factories, and public transportation in the Greater Tokyo Area are being shut down in preparation for the storm.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said a disaster management meeting would be held on late Friday.
"The government is doing its utmost to prepare for the approaching typhoon," disaster management minister Ryota Takeda said.
Economy Minister Isshu Sugawara said hospitals and other public facilities are currently preparing backup generators for the possibility of an extended period without power.
As of Friday, Hagibis was traveling north-northwestward with winds of 110 mph and gusts up to 156 mph. The dangerous typhoon is expected to strike Japan's main island on Saturday.