TOKYO (AP) — A powerful typhoon slammed Okinawa and other islands in southwestern Japan Wednesday with high winds injuring more than 30 people as it moved west making its way toward mainland China.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the typhoon is heading to the East China Sea, but may change course and head back to Japan later this week.
Typhoon Khanun, which means jackfruit in Thai, was heading west at speeds of 15 kph (9 mph), packing surface winds of up to 162 kph (100 mph). It was at sea southwest of Okinawa’s main island, according to the agency.
Thirty-four people were injured, with three seriously hurt, according to the Okinawa prefectural government. The typhoon damaged several homes and forced transportation to halt and stores to close as it slowly moved west. Many hospitals were only receiving emergency cases.
The storm also left nearly 200,000 homes, or about 30%, of those in Okinawa, without power, according to the Okinawa Electric Power Company.
In the Ogimi village in northeastern Okinawa, a man was found without vital signs after a garage collapsed on him possibly due to violent wind, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. The 90-year-old man was later pronounced dead in hospital. Officials said they are investigating his death to see if it was due to the typhoon. Several other homes were also damaged.
Hundreds of domestic and international flights in and out of the Naha airport were canceled, and public transportation, including buses, light rail transit systems and ferries connecting the region’s islands, were suspended.
Up to 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) of rainfall were expected in the Okinawa region by midday Thursday, the agency said.
Officials warned residents against flying objects due to violent winds and urged them to stay indoors and away from windows.