IN PHOTOS: Japan braces for 'large, very strong' Typhoon Hagibis
TOKYO, Japan – Powerful Typhoon Hagibis on Saturday, October 12, claimed its first victim even before making landfall, as potentially record-breaking rains and high winds sparked evacuation orders for more than 1.6 million people.
Rated "large and very strong", the storm has also forced the cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches, disrupted the Japanese Grand Prix and grounded more than 1,600 flights.
It is forecast to crash into land in central or eastern Japan early Saturday evening, packing maximum gusts of 216 kilometers per hour (134 miles per hour) Japan's Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.
But hours before the worst of the storm arrived, its outer bands claimed a first casualty in Chiba, east of Tokyo, which was also badly hit by a powerful typhoon last month.
Hagibis is forecast to be the first storm rated "very strong" to hit the main island of Honshu since 1991, when the category system was introduced, local media said.
Hagibis is an unusually large storm, expected to bring "brutal winds and violent seas" to large swathes of the country, the weather agency said.
The expected rainfall, in particular, has sparked concern, with the JMA warning that high tides ahead of a full moon increase the risk of flooding.
It has issued warnings for strong winds, high waves, landslides and serious flooding for large areas of Honshu.
Here are photos of the effects so far of Hagibis: