Japan: One dead and dozens injured as Typhoon Namdol hits

Japan’s warning levels for Typhoon Namdol were downgraded on Monday. The severe weather caused at least one death and dozens of injuries.

The powerful typhoon weakened after making landfall near the city of Kagoshima, south of the large island of Kyushu, on Sunday evening, but it uprooted trees, shattered windows and overflowed rivers.

Nearly six million people are still under evacuation notices, and officials are calling on people to be vigilant, especially in areas where rivers are still raging after hours of rain.

More rain than a month

In Miyazaki Prefecture, some areas received more rain in 24 hours than they normally receive in the whole month of September.

“We ask people to be aware of the (dangers) of floods and landslides,” government official Yoshiyuki Toyoguchi told the public.

A submerged car

Authorities in Miyazaki Prefecture confirmed to AFP the death of a 60-year-old man from the town of Miyakonojo, who was found lifeless in a submerged car in farmland.

Also in the Fukuoka region (southwest), officials said they were investigating another death to determine if it was linked to the storm.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who was due to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday, will delay his trip by a day to assess the extent of the damage, his office confirmed.

Somewhat limited damage

However, considering the intensity of the typhoon, which lashed the southwest coast at 234 km/h, the damage appears to be relatively minimal.

“The typhoon has almost disappeared today (Monday) and the rain and wind are calming down now,” a crisis management official in the city of Saito (Miyazaki Prefecture) told AFP.

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“Electricity has been cut in some places” and residents complained of “fallen trees”, he said, citing flooding in “some areas”.

On the island of Kyushu, thousands of people have spent the night in shelters, while others have moved into more solid buildings.

Without electricity

As of Monday afternoon, more than 240,000 homes were still without power in the Kyushu and Tsukoku regions as the storm slowly moved up Japan’s west coast, utilities said.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled and train services have also been disrupted in areas affected by the peak of the weather.

At 4:00 p.m., the typhoon was moving north/northeast off the coast of Shimane Prefecture in the western part of the country, with maximum sustained winds of 160 km/h, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

It is ‘continuing to weaken’ and ‘has been downgraded from a strong and broad typhoon to a broad typhoon,’ Ryuta Kurora, head of the JMA’s forecast division, told reporters.

Global warming

Typhoon season peaks in Japan from August to September, where it is marked by heavy rains that can cause flash floods and deadly landslides. Scientists believe climate change will increase the intensity of storms and extreme weather events.

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