Japan braces for ‘very dangerous’ typhoon; ‘maximum caution’ urged

TOKYO – Japan’s weather agency warned Saturday of a “very dangerous” typhoon heading towards the country’s southern Kyushu island, urging residents to evacuate before powerful wind hits the area.

Typhoon Nanmadol was carrying gusts of up to 270 kmh near the remote Minami Daito island, 400km east of Okinawa island, the weather agency said.

The storm is expected to approach or make landfall Sunday in the southern Kagoshima prefecture in Kyushu, then move north the following day, before heading towards the main Japanese island.

“There are risks of unprecedented storms, high waves, storm surges and record rainfall,” Mr Ryuta Kurora, head of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s forecast unit, told reporters.

“Maximum caution is required,” he said, urging residents to evacuate early.  “It’s a very dangerous typhoon.”

Mr Kurora said the weather agency was likely to issue the highest alert for Kagoshima later in the evening.

“The wind will be so fierce that some houses might collapse,” he said, also warning of flooding and landslides.

Japan is currently in typhoon season and is hit by around 20 typhoons a year, routinely seeing heavy rains that cause landslides or flash floods.

Scientists say climate change is increasing the severity of storms and causing extreme weather such as heat waves, droughts and flash floods to become more frequent and intense. AFP