Japanese typhoon forces thousands of people to evacuate


A powerful typhoon made landfall on the southern coast of Japan on Sunday as it lashed the region with strong winds and heavy rain, causing power outages, crippling land and air traffic and causing damage to the air. Thousands of people had to be evacuated.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said typhoon Nanmadol was heading north after making landfall in the city of Kagoshima on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. It has maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometers (101 miles) per hour and is forecast to reach Tokyo on Tuesday.

The weather agency predicts up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rain Monday night and warns of flooding and landslides. It also warned residents in affected areas of “unprecedented” levels of strong winds and waves, urging them to evacuate early.

Storm and high wave warnings were in effect in Kagoshima, where residents were asked to stay in stable buildings on the second floor or higher, if that is considered a safer option than going to evacuation centres.

More than 12,000 people have taken shelter in evacuation centers. In neighboring Miyazaki Prefecture, about 8,000 people have fled their homes.

Local officials said several people were injured. In the city of Kushima in Miyazaki, a woman was slightly injured by shards of broken glass when the wind shattered a window at a gym. National broadcaster NHK said 15 people were injured.

Power outages were extended across the Kyushu region as the storm further damaged power lines and facilities as it moved north. According to Kyushu Electric Power Co., as of Sunday evening, 216,450 homes were without electricity.

Footage on public television channel NHK shows a pachinko room with part of its glass wall shattered by gusts of wind in Kanoya city, Kagoshima. Elsewhere in the province, an elderly woman suffered minor injuries after falling, NHK said.

According to Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, hundreds of domestic flights have been canceled and many more are expected to land in western Japan through the end of Tuesday as the storm heads northeast, according to Japan Airlines. Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Public transport including trains and buses in many areas of Kyushu island was suspended throughout Sunday. Rail operators said bullet trains on the island of Kyushu have also been suspended and more stops are expected in larger areas in the southwest on Monday.

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