Typhoon Neoguri: Hundreds of thousands of people urged to seek shelter in Okinawa
Japanese authorities have urged hundreds of thousands of people to seek shelter as powerful Typhoon Neoguri passes over Okinawa island chain.
Typhoon Neoguri was due to pass over Okinawa’s main island later on Tuesday, with strong winds and torrential rain.
Forecasters said it generated winds of up to 151 mph and warned of high waves.
Flights have been cancelled and schools shut. Local television footage showed palm trees being tossed by strong wind.
Local authorities urged some 480,000 residents across Okinawa to stay at home or move to community centres for shelter.
Four people, including an 83-year-old woman, were injured and a fisherman was reported missing, government officials said.
“There is a risk of unprecedentedly strong winds and torrential rains. Please refrain from non-essential outdoor activities,” Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) spokesman Satoshi Ebihara told a news conference on Monday night.
More than 50,000 households were reported to be without power, and one oil refinery has halted operations.
Residents have also been bracing themselves for rough weather.
Okinawa, Japan’s southern-most prefecture that comprises several islands, is home to major US bases. Around 26,000 US troops are stationed there under a long-standing security alliance.
Officers have evacuated some aircraft from Kadena Air Base in preparation for Typhoon Neoguri’s arrival.
Urging residents to remain on maximum alert, JMA warned of the possibility that Typhoon Neoguri could move north to Japan’s main island of Honshu.
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