Japan hit by typhoon

World Rally Championship teams preparing for this weekend's inaugural Rally Japan are bracing themselves for the arrival of Typhoon Chaba, which has caused chaos and destruction along the archipelago's southern and western regions

Japan hit by typhoon

The tropical storm hit Hokkaido - Japan's northernmost island that is the venue for this weekend's event - early this morning. The rally itself is based in the Tokachi region, and teams will be hoping that the nearby pair of mountain ranges will protect Tokachi, and the city of Obihiro, from the worst of the weather.

Typhoon Chaba is the 16th typhoon to hit the region this year and has killed seven people in Japan so far. It has also caused flooding in the Philippines, where 29 people are understood to have died, and had packed windspeeds of 130mph. Heavy rain of up to 60mm an hour was forecast in some areas today, with expectations of up to 200mm by midnight.

Meteorologists report that Chaba's winds are dropping off, but that the storm system itself is moving faster. Tohoku Electric Power said the typhoon had caused blackouts in around 16,000 homes in northern Japan.

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