Japan Urges Thousands To Evacuate As Typhoon Nanmadol Nears

Japan’s authorities have urged thousands of people to evacuate their homes after experts warned of “unprecedented” risks from a storm approaching the country.

Typhoon Nanmadol, with winds that could reach 270 km/h (186 mph), is expected to make landfall on the island of Kyushu on Sunday. Up to 500mm of rain could fall on some areas in just 24 hours, specialists said.

In response, Japanese authorities announced a “special alert” for the country’s largest island, Kyushu, home to more than 13 million people. Transportation services on trains and flights have also been canceled.

According to the Japan Times, it was the first alert issued outside of Okinawa Prefecture, which encompasses the smaller and more remote islands in the East China Sea.

After making landfall, the typhoon is expected to turn northeast and move across central Japan toward the capital Tokyo.

Typhoon Nanmadol is also expected to maintain much of its strength as it moves through the country.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, an official from Japan’s meteorological agency warned of unprecedented storms, high waves, record rainfall, and storm surge risks.

The official also said that Nanmadol had the potential to be worse than the devastating Typhoon Jebi, which left 14 dead in 2018. It is also forecast to cause more damage than Typhoon Hagibis, which caused widespread power outages a year later.

The weather agency also urged people to seek shelter in sturdy buildings or alternative accommodation for extreme weather conditions, warning that many houses, especially in the southern Kyushu region, were at risk of collapsing.

“Please move into sturdy buildings before violent winds start to blow and stay away from windows even inside sturdy buildings,” the official told a late-night news conference.

According to the latest reports issued on Saturday night, the agency had classified Typhoon Nanmadol in the highest category of “violent” as it moved about 200 km north-northeast of Minami Daito Island.

Japan has entered typhoon season, which causes some 20 similar storms a year, with torrential rains causing flooding and landslides.