Meteorologists have warned that Southern Japan’s Okinawa prefecture is on course to be hit by one of the fiercest typhoons in years.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency said on Sunday that Typhoon Bolaven was packing gale force winds of up to 252kph and advancing towards Okinawa’s capital Naha at a speed of 15kph.
This is the third recent typhoon swell in the Asia pacific region after Typhoon Tembin battered Taiwan on Friday and Typhoon Kai-Tak claimed 27 lives in north Vietnam last week.
A spokesperson from the agency said, strong winds and high waves of up to 13 metres could last until Monday.
“As the typhoon is moving slowly, turbulence in the sea is expected to continue for many hours,” the spokesperson said.
Local news reports claim all traffic in the region had been ground to a halt, including all flights to and from Naha airport as well as ships linking the main island with other places.
Residents have been told to stay indoors while some have evacuated their homes to seek refuge in government buildings and other public facilities.
The typhoon was expected to rip through Okinawa island Sunday night and move onwards while maintaining its optimum strength.
The agency warned that as much as 500mm of rain was forecast to last over 24 hours until noon on Monday.