Powerful typhoon pounds southern Japan; thousands evacuated
TOKYO (AP) — A powerful typhoon slammed ashore in southern Japan on Sunday as it pounded the region with strong winds and heavy rain, causing blackouts, paralyzing ground and air transportation and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said Typhoon Nanmadol was heading north after making landfall in Kagoshima city on Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu. It was packing maximum winds of 162 kilometers (101 miles) per hour, and is forecast to reach Tokyo on Tuesday.
The weather agency predicted as much as 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rainfall by Monday evening and warned of flooding and landslides. It also alerted residents in the affected areas of “unprecedented” levels of powerful winds and waves, urging them to evacuate early.
Storm and high wave warnings were in effect in Kagoshima, where residents were told to stay inside stable buildings on second floor or higher, if it’s deemed a safer option than going to evacuation centers.
More than 12,000 people took shelter at evacuation centers. In neighboring Miyazaki prefecture, about 8,000 people left their homes.
Local officials said several people had been injured. In Kushima city in Miyazaki, a woman was slightly hurt by shards of glass when winds broke windows at a gymnasium. NHK national television said 15 people had been injured, citing its own tally.
Power outages were expanded across the Kyushu region as the typhoon damaged more power lines and facilities while moving north. By Sunday night, 216,450 homes were without electricity, according to Kyushu Electric Power Co.
Footage on NHK television showed a pachinko pinball parlor with part of its glass wall shattered by the gust in Kanoya city in Kagoshima. Elsewhere in the prefecture, an elderly woman in suffered a minor injury after falling, NHK said.
Hundreds of domestic flights have been canceled and more are planned to be grounded in western Japan through Tuesday as the typhoon headed northeast, according to Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
Public transportation including trains and buses in many areas on the Kyushu island were suspended throughout Sunday. Railway operators said bullet trains on Kyushu island also have been suspended, and more stoppages are expected in greater areas in the southwest Monday.