Japan has entered its annual holiday festival of Obon, or Bon, when millions of people normally travel across the country to see family.
Bon, which runs until Wednesday 16 August, is being threatened across some parts of Japan by Typhoon Lan. The storm is now east of Japan, tracking gradually north-westward with maximum wind gusts of around 90-100mph on Sunday.
While the storm is expected to weaken slightly as it approaches Japan, it is likely to produce huge rainfall totals, which may lead to flooding and disruption.
Current storm-track predictions suggest that a landfall in southern Honshu looks likely, initially affecting the Kansai region, and passing close to the major city of Osaka.
The coastline of Wakayama prefecture could be hit by damaging gusts above 100mph by Tuesday, with large waves adding to the potential disruption.
As the storm tracks inland, it will be very slow-moving and thus huge volumes of rain could be deposited. 200-400mm of rain is expected in a 24-hour period, perhaps more than 500mm in some areas. It is likely that, for some places, more than double the average August rainfall could fall in the space of 24 hours.
Authorities have advised residents in the region to alter their holiday plans, and airlines and rail operators have already started to cancel services.
Weather headlines through this summer have been dominated by northern hemisphere heatwaves, the wildfires they have aided, and the struggles of populations to live daily lives among record-breaking heat. While Europe has had something of a break from the recent intense warmth, it has remained very hot in Spain and Portugal over the past few days with temperatures into the 40s celsius.
This week, the heat is going to migrate northwards and eastwards once again, with much of France, the Alps and Italy joining in with temperatures into the low 30s celsius, perhaps 40C in some local areas. This heat may briefly reach the UK too but is likely to break down quickly into showers and thunderstorms.
Source : The Guardian