Trail of damage: A passer-by walking past a landslide caused by heavy rain in Nago, Japan's southern island of Okinawa. - AFP
TOKYO: Typhoon Neoguri bore down on the Japanese mainland after slamming into the southern Okinawa island chain, killing two people and leaving a trail of damage.
Packing gusts of up to 180kph, the typhoon could hit the southern main island of Kyushu as early as today, before moving east along the Japanese archipelago, the national weather agency said.
Officials said Neoguri would bring torrential rainfall and warned of the risk of flooding and landslides after the storm – which has already weakened from a super typhoon – forced half a million people to seek shelter in Okinawa on Tuesday.
By Wednesday morning, the typhoon was some 500km away from the southwestern coast of Kyushu, churning north in the East China Sea at 20kph.
Kyushu – situated next to the biggest island of Honshu, where major cities including Tokyo and Osaka are located – was already experiencing heavy rain and strong winds, and authorities were likely to issue an emergency alert for residents to seek shelter ahead of Neoguri’s landfall.
On Monday, officials issued their highest typhoon alert for Okinawa, warning that Neoguri – which means raccoon in Korean – could turn deadly.
Yesterday, the weather agency’s chief forecaster Satoshi Ebihara said the situation in Okinawa remained serious even as the typhoon moved out to sea, with the agency issuing a fresh rainfall alert.
Okinawa was still dealing with a “situation that we’ve never seen before” due to heavy rains, he said, adding that a “serious crisis” was imminent.
“It would be no surprise if this unprecedented torrential rainfall triggers a serious disaster with landslides and flooding,” he said. — AFP