JR East May Implement Planned Suspension of Trains this Weekend in Tokyo Due to Super Typhoon Hagibis

JR East may implement planned suspension of trains in the Tokyo metropolitan region on October 12th and/or 13th if the current typhoon forecast holds. Typhoon 19 (Super Typhoon Hagibis) is forecast to slam into Tokyo and Yokohama, bringing extremely heavy wind and rain this weekend. We will update this information as it becomes available.

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To see a list of scheduled train suspensions for October 13th, please see: Which train lines will be closed Oct 13th, following impact from Typhoon 19.

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October 11th update: Please see a current list of train closings and suspensions in Tokyo metro due to Typhoon 19 here.

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The Mainichi newspaper reports that JR East may suspend trains as a precautionary measure based on its experience handling resumption of operations following Typhoon 15, when suspensions and delays affected about 2.27 million commuters in the Tokyo metro region, including 14,000 stranded at Narita Airport. Typhoon 15  (Typhoon Faxai) made landfall near the city of Chiba on September 9th, killed at least  three people and injured 50. It was one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Kanto region.

Typhoon 19

Typhoon 19 also called Super Typhoon Hagibis is classified as “violent” (the JMA’s highest classification), with gusts as strong as 270 kilometers (168-miles) per hour. It is forecast to weaken before it nears Japan but will still be “very strong”.

It is also possible that the storm may continue eastward and miss Japan entirely.

  • Super Typhoon Hagibis strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 5 super typhoon in just a day (between Sunday, September 29th and and Monday, September 30th) and is among the most explosive rapid intensifications of any tropical cyclone on record anywhere on Earth.
  • According to the JMA, as of 3PM on Tuesday, October 8th, Typhoon 19 had a central pressure of 915hPa. For comparison, Typhoon 15, had a measured central pressure of 955hPa.
  • Based on current forecasts, the typhoon will hit the Kanto and Tokai regions between the afternoon of Saturday, October 12th and Sunday, October 13th without significantly decreasing in power. Current models are forecasting the storm to reach a central pressure of as high as 980hPa (on October 13th).
  • The Tohoku region is forecast to see heavy rain and wind on the afternoon of the 13th.
  • Expect increasing wind and rain starting on Friday, October 11th in the Kanto, Tokai, and Kinki regions.

What to expect

If Typhoon 19 continues on its forecast trajectory and level of intensity, the JMA warns that people in the Kanto, Tokai, Hokuriku, and Kinki regions should be prepared between October 12th and 13th for:

How to prepare for a typhoon

Typhoons are extremely powerful. Studies show that the energy unleashed by an average typhoon can reach a force 100 times greater than that generated by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. However, the force of typhoons usually diminishes through friction with sea or land surfaces, and is also influenced by temperatures and wind force in the surrounding atmosphere.

Typhoons are dangerous not only because of high wind speeds. Many deaths in typhoons are caused by flooding and landslides.

Please see this guide to learn more about typhoons, how to prepare for them, and how to get official information as a storm approaches: Preparing for the typhoon season in Japan

Sources: Mainichi newspaper, October 8, 2019; Japan Meteorological Agency website; JapanToday, weather.com

Lead Image: Via JMA, the image on the left shows the forecast path of Typhoon 19, the image on the right shows the actual path of Typhoon 15