Lionrock batters Japan

The storm is weakening, but still threatens flooding and landslides.

High waves triggered by Typhoon Lionrock crash against a "torii" gate on a coast of the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
High waves triggered by Lionrock crash against the shore [Kyodo/Reuters]

Japan is being slammed by yet another tropical storm. 

The storm, named Lionrock, comes hot on the heels of two other storms that hit Japan in the past nine days.

Tropical Storm Kompasu grazed the east coast of Honshu, before slamming into the northern island of Hokkaido on August 21.

Some 24 hours later, Typhoon Mindulle smashed into the southeast of Honshu, bringing torrential rain and dangerous winds to the east coast again, including Tokyo and Yokohama.

The storms triggered landslides and flooding, leading to the deaths of two people. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and trains were severely affected.

Fortunately the current storm that is hitting the country is past its peak. Two days ago it was a powerful typhoon producing steady winds of over 200km an hour (kph) and was the equivalent of a destructive Category 4 hurricane.

Since then it has dramatically weakened and as it made landfall the steady winds were blowing at 90kph, with gusts of 120kph.

This means that Lionrock was no longer strong enough to be classed as typhoon and had been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Japan should be able to withstand the winds of Lionrock, but the amount of rain is more of a problem.

Much of the ground is already saturated after the recent severe weather, and the latest storm is threatening more than 200mm more rain.

This will cause more flooding and potentially some landslides too.

A storm surge could also be an issue, potentially reaching up to two metres in places.

After crossing Japan, the remains of Lionrock will turn west and head towards the eastern coast of China and Russia.

Source: Al Jazeera


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