Millions were told to evacuate as Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall

Millions were told to evacuate as Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall

A man cycles through torrential and winds in the city of Miyazaki after Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall in Japan

A man cycles through torrential and winds in the city of Miyazaki after Typhoon Nanmadol made landfall in Japan

One of the biggest typhoons ever to hit Japan has made landfall on the southern island of Kyushu.

Typhoon Nanmadol has brought winds of at least 180 km/h (112mph) and some areas could see 500mm (20 inches) of rain on Sunday and Monday.

At least four million people were told to evacuate their homes.

Floods and landslides are expected, and bullet train services, ferries and hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

The typhoon made landfall near the city of Kagoshima, on the southern tip of Kyushu, on Sunday morning.

Kyushu is the southernmost of the four islands that make up the main body of Japan and has a population of over 13 million people.

The authorities issued a “special alert” for the island, the first ever issued outside of Okinawa Prefecture, which is made up of Japan’s small and remote islands in the East China Sea, the Japan Times reports.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Nanmadol would bring heavy rain, storm surge along the coast, and winds so powerful that there was a risk of houses collapsing.

An official in the city of Izumi said conditions on Sunday afternoon were rapidly deteriorating.

“The wind has become very strong. Rain is also falling hard,” he told the AFP news agency. “It’s completely white-out outside. Visibility almost zero.”

The typhoon is now moving north across Kyushu, dropping heavy rain on the mountainous center of the island.

It is expected to move up through central Japan towards Tokyo in the coming days and retain much of its strength as it moves.

The biggest threat to life and property is the rain, which is already raising rivers and potentially releasing landslides and mudslides.

People across Kyushu have been told to seek refuge in shelters, but the evacuation warnings are not mandatory, and in the past authorities have struggled to convince people to move to shelter before extreme weather events.

By Sunday afternoon, utility companies said nearly 200,000 homes were without power.

In a statement, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told people to “evacuate without hesitation if they feel in any way in danger”.

“I recommend [everyone] to avoid going near potentially dangerous places such as rivers and other waterways or places prone to landslides,” he said.

“It is extremely dangerous to evacuate at night. I advise the public to evacuate to a safe place before nightfall.”

Nanmadol is the 14th typhoon in the Pacific Ocean this season, and the biggest of all to hit Japan.

Speaking on Saturday, an official from Japan’s meteorological agency said it could be worse than both Typhoon Jebi in 2018, which left 14 people dead, and Typhoon Hagibis, which caused power cuts widespread in 2019.

The country is well prepared to deal with such storms, but scientists say climate change is making them more and more destructive.

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