Japan storm: Nine million people told to evacuate as super typhoon Nanmadol hits

By Elsa Maishman

BBC News

Huge wavesImage source, Reuters

Image caption,

Huge waves in Kochi prefecture, western Japan

Nine million people have been told to evacuate their homes as Japan is battered by one of the worst typhoons the country has ever seen.

The super typhoon Nanmadol has killed two people and injured almost 90.

It hit Japan’s most southerly island, Kyushu, on Sunday morning, and is forecast to pass over the main island of Honshu in the next few days.

Tens of thousands of people spent Sunday night in emergency shelters, and almost 350,000 homes are without power.

Transport and business has been disrupted, and the country is braced for extensive flooding and landslides.

Nanmadol has brought gusts of up to 234km/h (145mph), and some areas were forecast 400mm (16 inches) of rain in 24 hours.

Bullet train services, ferries, and hundreds of flights have been cancelled. Many shops and other businesses have closed, and sandbags have been put in place to protect some properties.

Image source, Reuters

Image caption,

Rescue workers attend a landslide in Kyushu

The typhoon made landfall near the city of Kagoshima, on the southern tip of Japan’s most southerly island, Kyushu, on Sunday morning.

A river in Kyushu has burst its banks.

State broadcaster NHK said one man was killed when his car was submerged in flooding, and another died after being buried in a landslide. One more person remains missing, and 87 have been injured.

Local video footage shows roofs ripped off buildings and billboards toppled over.

The storm is forecast to turn east and pass over Japan’s main island of Honshu before moving out to sea by Wednesday. The capital, Tokyo, has experienced heavy rain, with the Tozai underground line suspended because of flooding.

A level-five alert, the highest on Japan’s disaster warning scale, has been issued for more than 500,000 people in the Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Oita, Kumamoto and Yamaguchi areas.

A total of around nine million people have been ordered to evacuate parts of the Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku regions after a level four alert.

Nanmadol has been categorised as a super typhoon by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC), a term applied to storms with sustained wind speeds of 240km/h (150mph) or more. It is the equivalent of a category four or five hurricane.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has delayed a visit to New York, where he is due to give speech at the UN General Assembly, until Tuesday, to monitor the impact of the storm.

Scientists have predicted a very active hurricane season this year, influenced by a natural phenomenon known as La NiƱa.

Warmer sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean as a result of climate change may also have an impact.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said intense tropical cyclones will likely increase on a global scale.

Media caption,

Typhoon Nanmadol bears down on Japan – what’s the forecast?

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