Japanese typhoon forces thousands to evacuate

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TOKYO-

A powerful typhoon slammed into southern Japan on Sunday as it battered the region with strong winds and heavy rain, causing power outages, paralyzing ground and air transport and prompting the evacuation of thousands of people.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Typhoon Nanmadol was heading north after making landfall in the city of Kagoshima on the main island of Kyushu, southern Japan. It was blowing maximum winds of 162 kilometers (101 miles) per hour and was expected to reach Tokyo on Tuesday.

The weather agency predicted up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rainfall by Monday evening and warned of flooding and landslides. It also alerted residents in affected areas to “unprecedented” levels of strong winds and waves, urging them to evacuate early.

Storm and high wave warnings were in effect in Kagoshima, where residents were told to stay inside stable buildings on the second floor or higher, if considered a safer option than going to evacuation centers.

More than 12,000 people took refuge in evacuation centers. In neighboring Miyazaki prefecture, around 8,000 people have left their homes.

Local authorities said several people were injured. In the city of Kushima in Miyazaki, a woman was slightly injured by shards of glass when winds shattered the windows of a gymnasium. National broadcaster NHK said 15 people were injured, citing its own tally.

Power outages spread across the Kyushu region as the typhoon damaged more power lines and facilities while moving north. As of Sunday evening, 216,450 homes were without power, according to Kyushu Electric Power Co.

NHK television footage showed a pachinko pinball parlor with part of its glass wall shattered by the gust in Kanoya town in Kagoshima. Elsewhere in the prefecture, an elderly woman suffered minor injuries after a fall, NHK said.

Hundreds of domestic flights were canceled and more are expected to be grounded in western Japan until Tuesday as the typhoon swept northeast, according to Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Public transport, including trains and buses in many parts of Kyushu Island, was suspended throughout Sunday. Rail operators said high-speed trains on the island of Kyushu have also been suspended and more stops are expected Monday in larger parts of the southwest.

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