When a typhoon hits Japan it can cause terrible storms, but it can also be something more peaceful.
However, that is not what happened this weekend.
Millions of people in Japan were under evacuation alerts last Monday when Typhoon Nanmadol brought high winds and heavy rain to the country’s southwest after hitting the coast overnight.
The mighty system has weakened to a tropical storm since making landfall Sunday night around the city of Kagoshima in southwest Kyushu, but it still toppled trees, shattered windows and left rivers nearly overflowing.
National broadcaster NHK said two people were killed and 60 others were injured as the storm passed through Kyushu. There was no immediate confirmation of the numbers by the authorities.
Japan Meteorological Agency officials warned that in Miyazaki Prefecture, where some areas saw more rainfall in 24 hours than they normally receive in September, river levels were high.
Typhoon hits Japan and raises alerts
“Even a small amount of additional rain can cause the water level to rise, so please remain vigilant about floods and landslides,” Yoshiyuki Toyoguchi of the Land Ministry told reporters.
Still, given the intensity of the storm, which made landfall with gusts of up to 234 kilometers per hour, damage has appeared relatively limited so far.
“The typhoon has practically disappeared today and the rain and wind are also decreasing now,” an official in charge of crisis management in the city of Saito, Miyazaki, told AFP. However, the typhoon left a trail of damage.
“But power is missing in some places… we are also hearing from many residents that electrical wires have been cut and trees have been felled,” he said, who declined to be named.
“Floods are also affecting some areas,” he added, saying officials “believe there are still many details of the damage that we still need to understand.”
Rare “special notices” for Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures, issued only when weather events are expected to be observed every few decades, have been downgraded.
But multi-level evacuation notices remained in place for 9.6 million people on the last day of a holiday weekend in Japan.
Warnings are not mandatory, and authorities sometimes struggle to convince residents to leave their homes during extreme weather events.
In Izumi City, Kagoshima Prefecture, 30-year-old Yasuta Yamaguchi spent the night at a local hotel to shelter from the storm.
“I came to the hotel to take shelter because it was very windy and I thought it was dangerous,” he told AFP. “I didn’t feel safe at home.”
As of Monday morning, nearly 313,000 households in Kyushu and neighboring Chugoku region were without power, utilities said. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, NHK said, and many train services in affected regions were also disrupted.
As of 1 p.m., the typhoon was spiraling north-northeast near Kitakyushu, the northernmost town on the island of Kyushu, with maximum gusts of around 162 kilometers per hour, according to the JMA.
Source: Japan Today and Kyodo.