Typhoon Khanun causes widespread damage to Okinawa

Typhoon Khanun has knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people in southern Japan and caused widespread damage.

The storm, described as “very strong” by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), brought maximum sustained winds of 200kmph (124mph), while some areas on Okinawa logged more than 250mm (9.84 inches) of rain in the past 24 hours.

The JMA warned of flooding and landslides in some parts, and authorities issued an evacuation order across Okinawa and in parts of neighbouring Kagoshima prefecture, urging more than 690,000 residents to move to safety.

The slow-moving Typhoon Khanun, which was nearing Japan’s southwestern islands on 2 August, also forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights to the popular tourist destination of Okinawa and other islands, stranding thousands of tourists.

Some 700,000 people in Okinawa have been advised to evacuate, according to the JMA, with the storm moving northwest at 10km/h.

Some locations in Okinawa logged wind gusts of nearly 200km/h and had more than 250mm of rain in the past 24 hours, according to JMA.

Local utility company Okinawa Electric Power said about 210,000 households, or 34% of all houses covered, were experiencing power outages as of 1pm Japan time (5am Irish time), according to its website.

Kyushu Electric Power said power supply was down for 10,030 houses in Amami islands in Kagoshima prefecture, north of Okinawa.

JMA predicts the typhoon will move westward through the East China Sea toward China’s Zhejiang and Fujian provinces and north of Taiwan by Friday, but then turn north-eastward, potentially heading to Japan’s third-largest island, Kyushu.

Typhoon Khanun comes just days after the region was hit by typhoon Doksuri, which hit parts of northern China in one of the worst storms in over a decade and damaged rice production in the Philippines.