Powerful typhoon slams Japan with violent winds, heavy rain | Daily News


 

Powerful typhoon slams Japan with violent winds, heavy rain

People undergo a temperature check before boarding a bus as an evacuation advice is issued due to the approach of typhoon Haishen in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture on September 6, 2020. - Typhoon Haishen headed toward southern Japan on September 6, with officials warning of record rainfall and winds strong enough to snap power poles and flip vehicles.  AFP

People undergo a temperature check before boarding a bus as an evacuation advice is issued due to the approach of typhoon Haishen in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture on September 6, 2020. - Typhoon Haishen headed toward southern Japan on September 6, with officials warning of record rainfall and winds strong enough to snap power poles and flip vehicles.  AFP

A powerful typhoon began to lash southern Japan on Sunday, with officials warning it could bring record rainfall and winds strong enough to snap power line poles and flip cars.

Typhoon Haishen, categorised as “large” and “extremely strong”, has prompted evacuation advisories for more than three million residents, particularly in Kyushu -- one of Japan’s main islands -- which the storm is expected to affect overnight.

The storm has weakened somewhat, shifting west from earlier forecasts, away from the mainland, and Japan’s weather agency said it was no longer likely to issue its top-level typhoon warning.

But it urged residents to exercise “most serious caution” for possible record rain, violent winds, high waves and surging tides.

“Record-level rainfall is expected (where the typhoon approaches). It may cause landslides or it could cause even large rivers to flood,” Yoshihisa Nakamoto, director of the forecast division at the Japan Meteorological Agency, said during a televised briefing.

He added that surging tides could cause widespread flooding in low-lying areas, particularly around river mouths.

The storm passed over a string of small islands near Kyushu on Sunday afternoon, and footage showed strong gusts bending trees as walls of rain came down. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called an emergency cabinet meeting to coordinate the government’s response to the storm, and warned of flooding and landslides. “Maximum caution is needed as record rain, violent winds, high waves and high tides are possible,” he said.

“I ask the Japanese people, including those who live in high-risk areas for flooding rivers or high tides to stay informed and take action immediately to ensure their safety.” At 3 pm (0600 GMT), Haishen was located about 110 kilometres (68 miles) south-southwest of Yakushima island, packing gusts up to 216 km (13 miles) per hour -- strong enough to overturn vehicles and snap wooden power line poles.

The storm was forecast to move north-northwest and travel off the western coast of Kyushu from the evening through early Monday before reaching South Korea, according to the weather agency.

Authorities across Japan’s southern Kyushu island have issued evacuation advisories for nearly 2.5 million residents, particularly in Kagoshima and neighbouring Miyazaki, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Across the country, non-compulsory evacuation orders and advisories covered some 3.5 million residents, according to national broadcaster NHK. Evacuation orders in Japan are not compulsory, though authorities strongly urge people to follow them.

Local officials have asked people, however, to avoid crowded shelters if possible to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections, so in many places residents have checked into hotels.

“I live near a river, and I wanted to go to a safe place and thought about the coronavirus too,” a woman in Miyazaki told NHK after bringing her family to a local hotel.

The storm has forced the cancellation of nearly 550 flights and disrupted train services, NHK said.And power outages were reported in parts of Okinawa, as well as Kagoshima, where some 30,000 homes were without electricity even before the storm arrived.

AFP


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