Destructive Typhoon Haishen moved towards South Korea on Monday (Sept 7) after slamming southern Japan with record winds and heavy rain that prompted evacuation warnings for millions.
Japan’s southern Kyushu island took the brunt of Haishen although, initial assessments suggested the storm had done less damage than feared, though hundreds of thousands of homes were left without power.
At 7 a.m., the typhoon was 30 kilometres north of Japans Tsushima island and was categorised as a “large” and strong” storm, having weakened overnight, but was still packing gusts up to 216 kilometres per hour.
Weather officials had warned the storm’s strongest gusts would be strong enough to overturn cars and snap powerline poles.
Some shelters were forced to turn people away to have enough space to maintain social distancing, and many of those advised to evacuate decided to check into hotels.
Japan’s typhoon season usually runs until October and Haishen is the second powerful storm to move through the region in recent weeks. It follows Typhoon Maysak, which also hit Japan before moving into South and North Korea, where heavy damage was reported.
Typhoon Haishen has weakened somewhat as it neared Japan’s mainland, and shifted further west out to sea, but it remained a “large” and “extremely strong” storm.
After lashing a string of exposed, remote southern islands, it neared the Kyushu region late Sunday night, with authorities issuing evacuation advisories for more than seven million residents.
“Record-level rainfall was expected. It may cause landslides, or it could cause even large rivers to flood,” said Yoshihisa Nakamoto, director of the forecast division at the Japan Meteorological Agency, during a televised briefing.
The storm was forecast to move north and travel off the western coast of Kyushu before reaching the Korean peninsula Monday morning, according to the weather agency.
Haishen forced the Japanese coast guard to suspend its search for dozens of missing sailors from the Gulf Livestock 1 cargo ship that sank in an earlier storm.