Typhoon Hagibis set to hit Japan could be as big as one that killed 1,200 in 1958, forecasters warn

Forecaster have warned that Typhoon Hagibis could be as strong as one that hit Japan in 1958, killing more than 1,200 people (Picture: AP)

The typhoon set to batter Japan at the weekend could be as strong as one that hit the country 40 years ago, leaving more than 1,200 people dead.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has warned that Typhoon Hagibis could be as devastating as the Kanogawa Typhoon that hit Shizuoka Prefecture and the Tokyo region in 1958, killing more than 1,200 people.

The typhoon is set to hit Japan over the weekend, extreme weather warnings issued along the eastern coast.

Evacuation centres have been opened and sporting events cancelled - including two Rugby World Cup matches that were due to be played on Saturday.

Organisers also cancelled a marathon in Sendai and other northern coastal towns, and Formula One racing in Suzuka in central Japan was cancelled on Saturday.

Hagibis, which means speed in Filipino, is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, and is moving towards Japan.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said it is forecast to hit ashore in the Tokyo area late on Saturday, bringing torrential rains and strong winds.


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The agency warned that the southeastern Tokai region of Japan could be deluged by up to 31 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.

Preparations have already started in some areas, with local offices in Chiba city distributing free sandbags to shield against flooding.

Typhoon Hagibis had winds gusting up to 270 kilometers per hour (168 mph) on Thursday morning but is expected to weaken over cooler waters as it nears Japan (Picture: AP)

The city also cautioned against power outages from potential typhoon damage and urged residents to make sure they have enough food, water and their phones are charged.

East Japan Railway Company said it may suspend services on most local lines and bullet trains around Tokyo before the typhoon arrives.

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said they may ground flights as early as Friday depending on the typhoon's movement.

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