Japan prepares for 'powerful' Typhoon Vongfong

Vongfong brought down trees and caused injuries on the island of Okinawa, 12 Oct Image copyright EPA
Image caption Vongfong brought down trees and caused injuries on the island of Okinawa

Japan is bracing for the arrival of a powerful typhoon, Vongfong, which officials have said will be the strongest storm to hit Japan this year.

The storm brought heavy rain and fierce winds to the southern island of Okinawa, causing dozens of injuries and power cuts to more than 20,000 homes.

It is now heading north and is expected to make landfall on Kyushu island on Monday morning local time.

Last week, typhoon Phanfone killed nine people in Japan.


Storm tracking website Tropical Storm Risk shows Vongfong losing power over the next few days, as it moves north-east along the rest of Japan.

Its current wind strength is about 111km/h (69mph), down from the 130km/h it reached as it passed over Okinawa.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says that although Vongfong has weakened considerably, it is still a huge storm system and is carrying an enormous amount of moisture.

He says that when Vongfong hits the mountains of Kyushu it will drop hundreds of millimetres of rain that could unleash flash flooding and landslides.

Vongfong should reach the Tokyo area on Tuesday.

At least 35 people in Okinawa and Kyushu have been injured by the strong winds, reports say.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Strong winds in Miyazaki, on the southern island of Kyushu, as Vongfong bears down
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Officials warn the typhoon could bring torrential rain and possible flooding

Vongfong had been categorised a super-typhoon as it picked up strength through several South Pacific islands, including Guam.

Last week parts of Japan were hit by Typhoon Phanfone, though that storm had rapidly lost power by the time it hit Tokyo.

Japan's Kyodo news agency said nine people are now known to have been killed by Phanfone, including three US military servicemen in Okinawa who were washed out to sea. Their bodies have since been recovered.

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Media captionPeter Gibbs has the latest update on this powerful typhoon.

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