Powerful storm lashes Japan, snarls holiday travel

A powerful tropical storm lashed Japan Thursday, bringing strong winds and torrential rain that prompted warnings of landslides and flooding, and sparked evacuation advisories and travel chaos at a peak holiday period.

Severe Tropical Storm Krosa one notch below a typhoon was churning

slowly just off the southwestern coast of Japan, packing wind gusts of up to

160 kilometres per hour.

Authorities issued a voluntary evacuation advisory to around 550,000

people in the storm's path and Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency

said four people had sustained minor injuries with one person more seriously

hurt.

The agency also said that a party of 18 people including children got

stranded during a barbeque in a valley when the river rose rapidly. They have

since been evacuated to higher ground and should be rescued later Thursday.

Krosa also sparked travel chaos as people returned to major cities

following the Obon holiday.

More than 600 domestic flights were cancelled to and from cities in

western Japan and bullet train services were either scrapped or sharply

reduced.

Ferries connecting the southern Shikoku island and other parts of Japan

were also cancelled as high waves lashed the coast.

Krosa weakened significantly from earlier in the week as it stalled in the

Pacific Ocean but it boasts an unusually large eye, meaning it is likely to

dump rain over a wide area.

It is also moving very slowly 20 kilometres per hour so the rain is

expected to last for an extended period.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)