More than 9.5 million people living in the path of the super Typhoon Nanmadol have been urged to evacuate as the storm brought in strong winds, torrential rainfall and dangerously high surges in Okinawa Prefecture and other islands off the south of Japan's main islands. The East Asian island country is being battered by one of the worst typhoons it has ever seen.
The southerly island of Kyushu was hit on Sunday morning. Two people were killed and nearly 300,000 homes were left without power around noon on Monday in Kyushu. Thousands of people took to emergency shelters. Transport and business was disrupted, bullet train services, ferries and hundreds of flights were cancelled.
Level-5 Alert Issued
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the storm is moving north across Japan's third largest island of Kyushu. It forecast strong rains throughout the week. JMA said a large-scale disaster could also be imminent with extensive flooding and landslides. The agency outlined that highest level of vigilance is required for rising water levels and flooding of rivers, landslide disasters and flooding of lowlands.
Moreover, a level-five alert which is the highest on Japan's disaster warning scale has been issued for more than 500,000 in Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Oita, Kumamoto and Yamaguchi areas. Nine million people have been ordered to evacuate parts of Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku regions after a level-four alert was implemented.
A Super Typhoon
The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) categorized Nanmadol as a super typhoon. This term applies to storms with sustained wind speeds of 240 km/hr or more. It is similar to a category four or five hurricane. Nanmadol is the 14th typhoon Japan has experienced so far this year.
Experts warned that Nanmadol is expected to travel to central Japan toward the capital city of Tokyo over the coming days and will maintain much of its strength. Experts warn that climate change is increasing the frequency and destructive power of such weather systems. This storm comes after record setting heatwaves in June that caused massive power outage to millions of residents in Tokyo, and high cases of heatstroke among the elderly people.