Typhoon Songda heads for Kyushu, leaving 26 injured

Powerful Typhoon Songda slowly advanced Monday toward Kyushu, bringing heavy rain and wind in Okinawa and Kagoshima prefectures and leaving 26 people injured.

It is the fifth typhoon to affect the Okinawa islands in as many weeks.

Local police said 16 people were reported injured in Okinawa Prefecture, while 10 were hurt in Kagoshima Prefecture. The injured included a 51-year-old woman in Setouchi, Kagoshima Prefecture, who sustained cuts when she was hit by glass from a window that was blown out.

About 220 people in the two prefectures evacuated their homes, while most schools on the main island of Okinawa and on remote islands in the Amami region off Kagoshima were closed Monday morning.

Typhoon Songda, with winds of 144 kph near its center, was located some 260 km west-northwest of Naze, Kagoshima Prefecture, on Monday afternoon, the Meteorological Agency said. It was moving northward at 15 kph. The typhoon is named after a river in Vietnam.

The 18th typhoon of the season had a good chance of landing or coming extremely close to western Kyushu by Tuesday morning.

The agency said rainfall of 50 to 80 mm per hour was expected in a vast region stretching from Okinawa to western Japan. Southern Kyushu and Pacific coastal areas of Shikoku could see as much as 500 mm of rain in the 24 hours to noon Tuesday, it said.

Some 50 flights linking Okinawa’s Naha airport with Tokyo, Osaka and other cities were canceled Monday, as well as flights to islands in the region.

The Meteorological Agency said another typhoon, Sarika, which means “singing bird” in Cambodian, was also heading toward Japan. Generating winds of up to 108 kph near its center, it was located about 490 km north-northwest of Saipan at 6 a.m. Monday and was moving west at 20 kph.