Rare ‘special warning’ issued as violent typhoon makes landfall in Japan | Japan

Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall in south-western Japan on Sunday night, with authorities urging millions of people to take shelter from the powerful storm’s high winds and torrential rain.

The storm officially made landfall at about 7pm local time (11am BST) as its eyewall – the region just outside the eye – arrived near Kagoshima, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

It was packing gusts of up to almost 150mph and had already dumped up to 500mm of rain in less than 24 hours on parts of the south-western Kyushu region.

Local officials said several people had been injured. In Kushima city in the southern Miyazaki prefecture, a woman was slightly hurt by shards of glass when winds broke windows at a gymnasium. National TV broadcaster NHK reported 15 people had been injured, citing its own tally.

At least 20,000 people spent the night in shelters in Kyushu’s Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, where the JMA has issued a rare “special warning” – an alert that is issued only when it forecasts conditions seen once in several decades.

The national broadcaster NHK, which collates information from local authorities, said more than 7 million people had been told to move to shelters or take refuge in sturdy buildings to ride out the storm.

The evacuation warnings are not mandatory, and authorities have at times struggled to persuade people to move to shelters before extreme weather. They sought to drive home their concerns about the weather system throughout the weekend.

“Please stay away from dangerous places, and please evacuate if you feel even the slightest hint of danger,” the prime minister, Fumio Kishida, tweeted after convening a government meeting on the storm.

“It will be dangerous to evacuate at night. Please move to safety while it’s still light outside.”

The JMA has warned the region could face unprecedented danger from high winds, storm surges and torrential rain and called the storm “very dangerous”.

“Areas affected by the storm are seeing the sort of rain that has never been experienced before,” Hiro Kato, the head of the Weather Monitoring and Warning Centre, told reporters Sunday.

“Especially in areas under landslide warnings, it is extremely probable that some kinds of landslides are already happening.”

He urged “maximum caution even in areas where disasters do not usually happen”.

By Sunday evening, utility companies said nearly 200,000 homes across the region were without power. Trains, flights and ferries were cancelled until the passage of the storm, and even some convenience stores – generally open all hours and considered a lifeline in disasters – shut their doors.

Read More: Rare ‘special warning’ issued as violent typhoon makes landfall in Japan | Japan

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