‘Unprecedented’ storm bears down on Japan; 4 million told to flee

This Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 satellite image released by NASA shows Typhoon Nanmadol, which is approaching southwest Japan.

Authorities warn of ‘unprecedented’ waves and winds from Typhoon Nanmadol, urge four million people on Kyushu Island to evacuate.

At least four million people in southern Japan have been ordered to evacuate as a powerful typhoon bears down on the region, bringing strong winds and heavy rain that caused electricity blackouts and paralysed ground and air transportation.

The super typhoon was near the southern island of Yakushima, packing maximum surface winds of 162km/h (101mph) as it slowly headed north to Kyushu, the country’s third-largest and southernmost island, where it could make landfall later in the day, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on Sunday.

Nanmadol is forecast to turn east and reach Tokyo on Tuesday.

The NHK broadcaster said local authorities have ordered four million people living on Kyushu to evacuate, with the JMA predicting that the island could receive as much as 500mm (20 inches) of rain and wind gusts of up to 250km/h (155mph).

The agency also warned residents in the affected area of flooding, landslides, as well as “unprecedented” levels of powerful winds and waves, and urged them to evacuate early.

Local authorities have reported no major damage or injuries so far.

This Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 satellite image released by NASA shows Typhoon Nanmadol, which is approaching southwest Japan.
This September 17 satellite image by NASA shows Typhoon Nanmadol, which is approaching southwest Japan [NASA Worldview, EOSDIS via AP]

In the hard-hit Kagoshima prefecture, more than 9,000 residents took shelter at evacuation centres on Sunday. In the neighbouring Miyazaki prefecture, another 4,700 people were evacuated.

Kyushu Electric Power Co said more than 93,000 homes across the island are without electricity on Sunday because of damage to power lines and facilities.

Footage on NHK television showed a pachinko pinball parlour with part of its glass wall shattered by wind gusts in Kanoya city in Kagoshima. Elsewhere in the prefecture, an elderly woman suffered a minor injury as she fell, NHK said.

Hundreds of domestic flights in and out of the region have been cancelled and more are planned to be grounded in western Japan through Tuesday as the typhoon heads northeast, according to Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Public transportation, including trains and buses, in Kagoshima and Miyazaki was suspended throughout Sunday.

Railway operators said bullet trains on Kyushu have been suspended.

The storm is forecast to curve east and pass over Japan’s main island of Honshu early next week before moving out to sea by Wednesday.

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