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Japan braced for intense tropical cyclone

Tokyo, Sept. 4 (BNA): Typhoon number 21, the most intense tropical cyclone system of the year, is expected to hit western and central Japan on Sept. 4, drawing warnings of wind gusts and torrential rain with lightning.

The typhoon, currently categorized as "very strong," is forecast to approach the main island of Honshu while maintaining the strongest intensity of any typhoon formed so far in 2018, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The system was 220 kilometers east-northeast of Minami-Daitojima island in Okinawa Prefecture as of 9 a.m. on Sept. 3, and was moving north-northwest at a speed of 20 kph, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

It had a central atmospheric pressure of 940 hectopascals with a maximum wind speed of 162 kph and a maximum instantaneous wind velocity of 234 kph.

The typhoon is expected to pick up speed, change to a north-northeast path, and make landfall between the Shikoku and Tokai regions by the afternoon of Sept. 4, the agency said. Heavy rain is forecast on the Pacific Ocean side of western Japan on the afternoon of Sept. 3.

The agency said people on the Pacific Ocean side of Japan should brace for sudden increases in wind velocity and localized thunderstorms with torrential rain on Sept. 4.

BNA 0659 GMT 2018/09/04