Japan is bracing for the arrival of powerful Typhoon Haishen, with precautionary measures including the suspension of public transportation services and the release of water to avoid the possibility of dams collapsing or overflowing, in advance of the storm’s approach toward Okinawa.
The Meteorological Agency urged extreme caution over the potential impacts of the typhoon as it is expected to intensify Sunday, potentially reaching an atmospheric pressure of 915 hectopascals at its center and packing winds of up to 306 kilometers per hour, faster than most shinkansen.
The lower the atmospheric pressure at the center, the greater the typhoon’s strength as it causes high tides when approaching coastal areas.
Through Sunday, the Okinawa region will likely be hit by gusts strong enough to topple houses. The storm will move through Amami Oshima island and approach Kyushu from Sunday to Monday, the agency said.
Southern areas of Kyushu could see rainfall of up to 800 millimeters by Monday evening, it said, also warning of high waves and tides.
Local authorities and operators of public transportation services stepped up precautionary steps ahead of the super typhoon.
Kagoshima Gov. Koichi Shiota has asked the Self-Defense Forces to dispatch troops to deal with the expected disaster and has already evacuated some 200 residents, including older people and pregnant women, from the remote island village of Toshima to the prefectural capital by helicopter.
Kyushu Railway Co. said its bullet and local train services in the region may be suspended on Sunday and Monday, while West Japan Railway Co. is considering suspending Sanyo Shinkansen services between Hiroshima and Hakata stations all day Monday.
Many schools in the Kyushu region are expected to be closed Monday. As a wide area of western Japan is likely to be affected by severe weather, six prefectures have released water at a total of 23 dams so as to prevent disaster, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the public Friday to “evacuate promptly based on information provided by local governments, and take actions to protect lives.”
He added that 22,000 SDF members were ready to be deployed for rescue operations if necessary.