‘Unprecedented’ storm rages over Japan; 4 million told to flee


Authorities warn of ‘unprecedented’ waves and winds from Typhoon Nanmadol and 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 ravages the region, with high winds and heavy rainfall causing power outages and paralysis of ground and air transport.

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

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

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

The agency also warned residents in the affected area of ​​flooding, landslides and “unprecedented” levels of strong winds and waves, urging them to evacuate early.

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

This September 17 satellite image by NASA shows Typhoon Nanmadol approaching southwestern Japan [NASA Worldview, EOSDIS via AP]

In the hard-hit Kagoshima prefecture, more than 9,000 residents cried in evacuation centers on Sunday. In neighboring Miyazaki prefecture, an additional 4,700 people were evacuated.

Kyushu Electric Power Co said more than 93,000 homes across the island were without electricity on Sunday due to damage to power lines and utilities.

Footage on NHK television showed a pachinko pinball machine with part of the glass wall shattered by gusts in the town of Kanoya in Kagoshima. Elsewhere in the prefecture, an elderly woman suffered minor injuries when she fell, NHK said.

Hundreds of domestic flights to and from the region have been canceled and more will be grounded in western Japan until Tuesday, according to Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, as the typhoon moves to the northeast.

Public transport, including trains and buses, in Kagoshima and Miyazaki was shut down all Sunday.

Railway operators said bullet trains on Kyushu have been suspended.

The storm is expected to veer east and cross Japan’s main island of Honshu early next week before heading out to sea on Wednesday.

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