Japan is now feeling the full effects of Typhoon Phanfone.

At 0600GMT (1500JST), Phanfone was lying just to the south of the western island of Kyushu.

As it ran across the far southern islands it produced a gust of 162kph on North Daito Island, in the Ryuku Islands.

Phanfone’s winds have eased considerably as it has moved over rapidly cooling water. (Phanfone formed over an area of the Pacific with temperatures of 31C. As it has moved northwards those waters have cooled to just 23C.)

By the time Phanfone clips the coast near Kyoto at 1800GMT (0300JST Monday) sustained winds are likely to be 120kph, strong enough to cause structural damage.

The main threat to the country is likely to come from the rainfall. Heavy rain has already fallen across much of central and southern Japan. The Formula 1 Grand Prix in Suzuka started in torrential rain, requiring the deployment of the safety car, before the race was eventually ‘red flagged’.

The heaviest of the rain lies closer to Kyushu and will spread across much of the country in the coming hours. Rainfall totals could reach 100mm to 200mm in many areas.

Localised flooding is highly likely and there could be landslides. The latter risk is particularly high for the Mount Ontake region, to the west of Tokyo. A search for 16 hikers, missing since last week’s eruption which killed 47 people, has been suspended. There are concerns that 200mm of rain could cause mudslides.

Once Phanfone clears into the northern Pacific later on Monday, there will be a few days respite before Typhoon Vongfong approaches from the south. This is likely to produce severe weather conditions towards next weekend.

Source: Al Jazeera