Japan: “special warning”, evacuations … a dangerous typhoon threatens 2 million inhabitants

The inhabitants must take shelter and some, even, evacuate. Two million Japanese are threatened by the arrival of typhoon Nanmadol, warned on Saturday on the national television channel NHK, while the meteorological agency issued a rare “special warning”.

The channel, which compiles alerts issued by local authorities, said evacuation instructions were in place for residents of Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Miyazaki in the Kyushu region. The move came as the Japan Meteorological Agency issued its highest alert for the Kagoshima region, a warning not seen in decades.

An evacuation “order” – level four on a scale of five – has been issued for 330,000 residents of the city of Kagoshima, and authorities have urged people to go to shelters.

Gusts up to 200 km/h

On Saturday evening, Typhoon Nanmadol was classified as “severe” by the agency and caused gusts of up to 270 km / h as it flew at an altitude of about 200 km north-northeast of the Minami Daito Island, one of those that form the Okinawa region.

The storm is expected to approach or make landfall in Kagoshima prefecture on Sunday, then move north the next day before heading towards the main island of Japan. “The risk of storms is unprecedented, with high waves and record rainfall,” Ryuta Kurora, head of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s forecast unit, told reporters.

“It’s a very dangerous typhoon” and “the wind will be so strong that some houses could collapse,” said Ryuta Kurora, also warning of floods and landslides.

The meteorological agency could issue a maximum alert later on Saturday for the Kagoshima region. It would be the first typhoon-related special alert issued outside the Okinawa area since the system was established in 2013.

People must take shelter now

The population concerned is called upon to move to shelters or alternative accommodation capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions. “Please go to the strong buildings before the strong winds start blowing and stay away from the windows even inside the strong buildings,” Ryuta Kurora implored.

Before Typhoon Nanmadol landed, flight cancellations began affecting regional airports, including those in Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto, according to the websites of Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Scientists say climate change is increasing the intensity of storms and making extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, droughts and flash floods more powerful and intense.

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