More than 8 million people in southern and western Japan have been ordered to evacuate as Typhoon Nanmadol roars across the island nation with historic wind and waves.
Local government officials across Japan told national broadcaster NHK that a level 5 alert, the highest on Japan’s disaster warning scale, was issued to more than 330,000 people in about 160,000 households in Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Oita prefectures.
A total of nearly 8 million people in about 3.7 million households affected by a level 4 alert were ordered to evacuate in parts of the Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku regions, NHK said.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said it was “raining like never before” in Miyazaki, where some areas saw more than 15 inches of rain in the 24 hours through Sunday afternoon. Power lines tumbled and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were dark as the storm slowly rolled northward over Kyushu.
“To protect your life and the lives of your loved ones, please follow the evacuation information already issued by your local municipality immediately,” the agency warned. “Ensure your own safety without waiting for the announcement of a special warning.”
First special typhoon warning
In Kagoshima, thousands took shelter at evacuation centers. Wind speeds of almost 115 mph were reported in parts of the region.
It was the first time the agency has issued a special typhoon warning for an area outside from Okinawa Prefecture. Flights were canceled and train service, the lifeblood of Japanese travel, was suspended in the region.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he had mobilized police, firefighters, the Self-Defense Forces and other agencies.
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“I urge (the public) to avoid going near places posing potential dangers such as rivers and other waterways or places at risk of landslides, and to evacuate without hesitation if they feel in danger in any way,” Kishida said.
Earthquake strikes Taiwan
Less than 900 miles southwest of Japan’s natural disaster, a strong earthquake struck southeastern Taiwan on Saturday evening, collapsing a house and interrupting rail service on the island. Taiwan’s Central News Agency said the 6.4 magnitude shallow quake was centered north of Taitung County on the island’s eastern shore.
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Contributing: The Associated Press