A powerful typhoon barreled through southwestern Japan on Monday, unleashing torrential rains and lashing winds that killed at least two people, triggered floods, downed power lines and and saw millions advised to evacuate to safety.
After making landfall in Kagoshima Prefecture, Typhoon Nanmadol was heading on a northeast path along the west coast of Honshu. While the storm has weakened since making landfall late Sunday night, it is still expected to dump as much as 400 millimeters of rain in parts of the region, drenching major cities including Tokyo when people return to work Tuesday after a three-day weekend, the Meteorological Agency said.
Around 6 p.m. Monday, the typhoon was moving northeast near Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, at a speed of some 35 kilometers per hour. It had an atmospheric pressure of 980 hectopascals at its center, packing winds of up to 108 kph with maximum gusts of 144 kph.
At least two people were killed Monday when the storm ripped through the Kyushu region, with one of the fatalities being a man found in a car that had been submerged in Miyazaki Prefecture.
A 41-year-old man was also found dead in the prefecture after his mountainside cabin was destroyed by a mudslide, according to police and other sources.
“There have been mudslides several times around here. The soil is like clay so it collapses easily,” said a 78-year-old man who lives nearby in the town of Mimata, adding that the cabin had been constructed around a year ago.
Meanwhile, local authorities in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, are searching for an 82-year-old man who is feared to have fallen in a waterway.
The typhoon triggered landslides, ripped siding off of buildings and downed electric lines. About 340,000 households, most of them in Kyushu, were without electricity early on Monday, the trade ministry said.
At least 87 people have been injured, according to NHK.
Officials from the Meteorological Agency warned that in Miyazaki Prefecture, where some areas saw more rainfall in 24 hours than they normally receive in all of September, river levels were high.
“Even a tiny amount of additional rainfall could cause the water level to increase, so please remain vigilant about flooding and landslides,” land ministry official Yoshiyuki Toyoguchi told reporters.
Rare “special warnings” for Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, issued only when weather events seen every few decades are forecast, have been downgraded. But evacuation warnings of various levels remained in place for 9.7 million people on Monday. The warnings are not mandatory, and authorities have at times struggled to convince residents to leave their homes during extreme weather events.
The storm is forecast to dump heavy rain on large parts of Honshu on Tuesday, leading to risks of floods and landslides, the agency said. It has issued a flooding advisory for Tokyo and adjacent Kanagawa Prefecture while large parts of Kyushu and prefectures to the northeast were under a flood warning.
Some scheduled LNG shipments this week to parts of southern Japan were delayed as the typhoon forced ships to detour, according to traders with knowledge of the plans.
ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines, the country’s two main carriers, have canceled about 800 flights. More than 400 flights were canceled at the main international airports serving Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.
High speed bullet train services have been suspended between economic hubs in the affected areas. No bullet trains were running in Kyushu and between Hiroshima and Fukuoka on Monday, according to the Central Japan Railway and Kyushu Railway.
Between Osaka and Nagoya, the bullet train services were set to stop Monday evening through the last train scheduled for the day. The number of trains between Nagoya and Tokyo were set to be cut drastically.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will delay a planned trip to New York for a session of the United Nations General Assembly by one day and is looking to depart Tuesday morning after assessing the damage situation, the government said.
On Sunday, Kishida called on people in Japan to evacuate promptly if they “even feel the slightest danger” when he attended a meeting with ministers and senior officials in charge of responding to the typhoon.
Kishida also ordered the officials “to take all possible measures to ensure the safety and security of the people with a sense of urgency.”
Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Nagasaki prefectures have all followed Kagoshima’s lead and have applied the disaster relief law to all their municipalities. This will allow them to receive support from the local and central governments.
Source: The Japan Times