JAPAN: On Saturday, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued an evacuation order for parts of the southern island of Kyushu in anticipation of a huge and potent typhoon that is forecast to make landfall on Sunday and drop up to 20 inches (50 cm) of rain.
The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center has designated Nan madol as a super typhoon, and it has the potential to be the most deadly tropical storm to hit Japan in decades.
The prospect of strong waves and heavy rains in the area prompted the Japanese weather agency to say it may issue a “special warning” for Kagoshima prefecture and other areas of Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island, as early as Saturday evening.
Domestic media said that it would be the first such alert for any prefecture north of the Okinawa island group.
In a televised press conference, JMA official Ryuta Kurora warned that the region could experience “unprecedented” storms and rains and urged locals to leave before nightfall.
The agency predicted that southern Kyushu might receive 500 millimetres of rain on Sunday while central Tokai could receive 300 millimetres.
In preparation for greater suspensions on Sunday, Kyushu Railway Co (9142.T) started to suspend certain train routes on Saturday. According to broadcaster NHK, numerous weekend flights in the south have been cancelled.
On Saturday afternoon, Nan madol, the 14th typhoon of the season, was moving northwest at a speed of 20 kilometres (12 miles) per hour as it passed through southern Japan’s Minami-Daito Island.
According to the JMA, the storm’s centre is experiencing winds of 198 km/h (123 mph), with gusts as high as 270 kph.
The storm, which is comparable in strength to an Atlantic Ocean class 5 hurricane, is expected to turn eastward and pass over Tokyo on Tuesday before dissipating into the sea by Wednesday.
As the storm neared, local television showed pictures of Okinawa, a chain of southern Japanese islands, being battered by heavy winds and rain.