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Tuesday, 8th September 2015
In Weather In Japan,

Hamamatsu residents evacuate amid fears Typhoon Etau could make landfall

Some 73,000 residents of the city of Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture have been advised to evacuate their homes ahead of a typhoon on course to make landfall on Wednesday (September 9th).

The area in central Japan is already experiencing heavy rain, but the situation is likely to get worse, as Typhoon Etau is currently south of the country, but heading in a northerly direction.

Unless it changes course, the storm could hit the region on Wednesday morning, the Japan Meteorological Agency has warned, meaning residents should take the necessary precautions.

Heavy rain warnings have been issued by the official body for sections of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka and Aichi prefectures.

A swathe of the country stretching all the way from Tokyo to Kyushu island is south-western Japan could be affected.

The Kii Peninsula, a popular destination for hiking trails and visiting sacred shrines, could also feel the effects of Typhoon Etau if it continues on its projected course.

Moving at an average speed of 25 kilometres per hour, the storm is a force to be reckoned with and should therefore be taken seriously.

Its winds are as strong as 126 kilometres per hour with an atmospheric pressure of 990 hectopascals at its heart.

Hamamatsu has already experienced flooding due to the heavy rains, with the water entering into a number of houses and roads needing to be closed.

Rain totals are expected to be at around 100 to 150 millimetres on Wednesday, with the possibility of higher amounts in some areas.

The city is known for its musicians and has a number of key attractions visited by tourists, including the Hamamatsu Castle and a flower park boasting 100,000 blooms.

At present, visitors to Japan are advised to stay away from the area and be on alert for dangers the weather could bring.

Mountainous areas will see large volumes of water running off the terrain, bringing with them the threat of mudlsides.

Meteorologists predict that the worst of Typhoon Etau should be over by Friday, when lighter rainfall will be all that is left of the storm in Japan.

This latest storm comes in the wake of Typhoon Kilo, which narrowly missed Japan last week.

Typhoon season in the country runs from June to December, with the current period being when the majority of these storms are felt.

Information provided by Britain's Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) on typhoons highlights that the margin of error for forecasting their paths can be significant.

It suggests that even the day before a storm arrives, expectations can be as much as 50 miles out. Typhoons lose much of their strength when they reach land, however, minimising destruction.

The FCO recommends that anyone in a typhoon affected area follows local advice and stays abreast of the situation through media reports.

Some travel infrastructure, such as airports could be closed as a result of such extreme weather conditions, but tour operators should be able to help and Inside Japan can answer any queries posed by its customers.

Alastair Donnelly, director of Inside Asia Tours, said: "Japan experiences a typhoon season every year usually from late summer to early autumn. Most areas of the country experience nothing more serious than heavy rain and strong winds but on some occasions severe heavy rain can cause flooding and landslides.

"The Japanese authorities are extremely well prepared for extreme weather events and are quick to act when there is any threat to the safety of residents in a particular area. Hamamatsu is a mid-sized city on the Pacific coast 155 miles west of Tokyo, which looks in for a rough ride this evening. With severe flooding possible the local government took the decision to evacuate part of the area.

"Fortunately such events are unusual and tend not to affect more than a few localities on any given occasion. Even severe typhoons are quick to pass and are more often than not followed by clear skies and good weather. But tonight, across most of Japan, you'd be advised to stay in, close the curtains and get a good film on the TV! For tourists the effects will be short-lived and the current typhoon should have little impact on their travel plans."

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