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Tropical storm bears down on Japan

Tropical storm Maria powered north towards Japan on Tuesday with landfall possible later in the night, while Taiwan kept a wary eye on the movements of two other storms, one of them at typhoon strength.
/ Source: Reuters

Tropical storm Maria powered north towards Japan on Tuesday with landfall possible later in the night, while Taiwan kept a wary eye on the movements of two other storms, one of them at typhoon strength.

Two children were killed in the northern Philippines by landslides triggered by rains touched off by tropical storm Bopha, “flower” in Cambodian, although the storm itself did not directly affect the country, the local weather bureau said.

High winds and heavy rains were forecast for central and western Japan, around the city of Osaka, with up to 12 inches of rain expected in some areas by noon on Wednesday.

The storm, which was moving northeast, had maximum winds near its center of up to 55 mph an hour and was expected to weaken once it hit land.

“The time of any landfall depends on whether the storm veers west or east,” said an agency official. “At the earliest, it may come ashore sometime tonight. But if it veers east, landfall will be later, sometime early tomorrow.”

Taiwan, which could be hit by two storms later this week, issued a warning to shipping vessels as tropical storm Bopha headed towards the island, threatening to lash the southeastern coast with heavy rains and strong winds as early as Wednesday.

Forecasters were also tracking the more distant Typhoon Saomai, named in Vietnamese for a plant.

Saomai, which intensified Tuesday to reach Class 2 strength, was projected to brush the northern part of Taiwan sometime on Thursday or Friday if it remains on its current path.

Tropical storms in the region gather intensity from warm water and can develop into storms that frequently hit Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and southern China during a season that usually lasts from early summer to late autumn.

Both Bopha and Saomai were expected to head into China, where state-run news agency Xinhua said 77 died last week from floods and landslides caused by tropical storm Prapiroon, which means “God of Rain” in Thai.