By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press
TOKYO (AP) — A powerful typhoon approaching southern Japan pounded the region with strong winds and heavy rain Sunday, causing blackouts, paralyzed ground and air transportation and the evacuation of thousands of people.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said Typhoon Nanmadol was near the southern island of Yakushima, packing maximum surface winds of 162 kilometers (101 miles) per hour, as it slowly headed north to the country’s main southern island of Kyushu where it could make a landfall later Sunday.
Nanmadol is forecast to turn east and reach Tokyo on Tuesday.
The agency predicted as much as 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rainfall by midday Monday, warning of flooding and landslides. The agency also warned residents in the affected area of “unprecedented” levels of powerful winds and waves, urging them to evacuate early.
Local authorities so far reported no major damage or injuries.
In the hard-hit Kagoshima prefecture, more than 9,000 residents took shelter at evacuation centers Sunday. In the neighboring Miyazaki prefecture, another 4,700 people evacuated.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. said more than 93,000 homes across the Kyushu island were without electricity Sunday because of damage to power lines and facilities.
Footage on NHK television showed a pachinko pinball parlor with part of its glass wall shattered by the gust in the Kanoya city in Kagoshima. Elsewhere in the prefecture, an elderly woman suffered a minor injury as she fell, NHK said.
Hundreds of domestic flights in and out of the region have been canceled and more are planned to be grounded in western Japan through Tuesday as the typhoon headed northeast, according to Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
Public transportation including trains and buses in Kagoshima and Miyazaki were suspended throughout Sunday. Railway operators said bullet trains on the Kyushu island have been suspended.
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