Japan issued a “special warning” for residents of the southern island of Kagoshima to evacuate as a “very dangerous” typhoon is set to arrive on Sunday.
“Unprecedented” storms and rainfall of half a metre could strike the area, Japan Meteorological Agency official Ryuta Kurora said at a televised press conference.
Typhoon Nanmadol may be the most powerful to hit Japan in decades, and is classified as a super typhoon by the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Winds of 198km Per Hour
Nanmadol, the 14th typhoon of the season, was near Japan’s southern Minami-Daito Island heading northwest at 20 km (12 miles) per hour on Saturday afternoon. Winds at the centre of the storm are blowing at 198 km per hour (123 miles per hour), gusting up to 270 kph, according to the JMA.
The storm, equivalent in strength to a class 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, is forecast to curve east and pass over Tokyo on Tuesday before moving out to sea by Wednesday.
Kyushu Railway Co began halting some train lines on Saturday ahead of wider suspensions on Sunday. Dozens of weekend flights in the southern region have been canceled, broadcaster NHK reported.
Domestic broadcasters aired footage of strong winds and rain are already lashing down on Japan’s southern island chain of Okinawa as the storm approached.
- Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon