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Japan on alert as powerful typhoon approaches

Heavy rains and strong winds lashed southwestern Japan on Wednesday as a powerful typhoon approached, cutting power to more than 10,000 homes and blowing off roofs, officials said.

world Updated: Oct 07, 2009 10:20 IST

Heavy rains and strong winds lashed southwestern Japan on Wednesday as a powerful typhoon approached, cutting power to more than 10,000 homes and blowing off roofs, officials said.

The violent storm is likely to be the first typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 2007, the weather agency warned.

Typhoon Melor, packing gusts of up to 216 kilometres per hour, was moving east of Amami-Oshima Island in Japan's far south early Wednesday, on course to hit the main island of Honshu on Thursday, it said.

"Rain will be very heavy and winds will also be fairly strong on land. It is likely to make landfall with a violent force," a weather forecaster from the agency said.

A total of 10,100 households were without electricity early Wednesday on Amami-Oshima and other remote islets, according to the local power company.

Some roofs were blown off but there were no reports of injuries, according to prefectural officials, who urged residents to be on alert.

"We have advised people who plan to evacuate to do so during daytime, before winds become any stronger," local disaster management official Koki Ishino said.

Officials advised residents to put shields on windows, fill their bathtub in case of water supply cuts and gather daily necessities for possible evacuation.