The island of Kyushu in southern Japan was hit by a typhoon that brought strong winds and torrential rains, prompting authorities to recommend the evacuation of millions of people from their homes.
Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall near the city of Kagoshima on Sunday. Large parts of the island spent the day under the government’s highest level of warning. 100mph gusts damaged buildings and plunged more than 200,000 homes into blackouts on the island.
The typhoon’s arrival was preceded by huge waves and some of the strongest winds ever recorded in this region. Parts of Miyazaki Prefecture, east of Kyushu, were hit with 400mm of rain during the 24-hour period between Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Before making landfall earlier on Sunday, residents of Kagoshima and the surrounding prefecture were warned to seek refuge in the strongest buildings available and, if possible, take refuge on higher floors.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida concluded a meeting with senior officials overseeing the typhoon response with a statement that the Japanese public should evacuate to safety “at the slightest sense of danger”.
Japan’s state broadcaster, NHK, said local authorities were issuing evacuation orders for millions of people.
The evacuation warnings currently in place are not mandatory – a status which in the past meant large numbers of people stayed at home beyond the point where they could easily move to shelter.
Japanese media reported that tens of thousands of people had already moved to evacuation centers as electricity was cut off, while mobile phone networks struggled to stay operational.
NHK reported a dozen injuries related to floods and winds.
As of midnight on Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency had placed Miyazaki Prefecture and most of Kyushu’s east coast under a special warning for extreme rainfall. It’s rare for the agency to take such a step for one of the country’s four major landmasses.
The typhoon, which could be one of the most powerful to make landfall on one of Japan’s main islands, is moving north along a path that is expected to encounter major residential and industrial centers. Further rainfall is expected, increasing the threat of flooding and landslides.
The forecast track mapped by the JMA shows the typhoon heading towards the southwestern region of Japan’s main island of Honshu on Monday and continuing northeastward on Tuesday. Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is currently not near the center of the typhoon’s predicted path.
Rains, winds and thunderstorms have already caused major disruptions to rail, sea and air services, and are expected to lead to widespread cancellations on Monday.
. typhoon Nanmadol hits Japan so of the million people are invited evacuate their homes