Typhoon Haishen unleashes rain, strong winds in south Japan

TOKYO (AP) — The second powerful typhoon to slam Japan in a week unleashed fierce winds and rain on southern islands yesterday, blowing off rooftops and leaving homes without power as it edged northward into an area vulnerable to flooding and mudslides.

Weather officials warned that rainfall from what could be a record storm would be as fierce as a bucket of water poured over head. Warnings have been issued, days in advance, for people to be ready to take shelter and stock up on food and water.

Several rivers on the main southwestern island of Kyushu were at risk of overflowing, officials said. Public broadcaster NHK TV said evacuation warnings were issued for more than 50,000 people in Okinawa and Kyushu, including Kagoshima and Nagasaki prefectures.

News footage showed people in Kyushu starting to gather at gymnasiums, before winds gather momentum in the evening. Social distancing will be in place to guard against the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.