Typhoon Muifa nears Okinawa island
Powerful typhoon Muifa neared Japan's Okinawa island Friday, lashing it with heavy rains, sparking flights cancellations and blackouts and leaving at least a dozen people with mostly light injuries.world Updated: Aug 05, 2011 12:14 IST
Powerful typhoon Muifa neared Japan's Okinawa island Friday, lashing it with heavy rains, sparking flights cancellations and blackouts and leaving at least a dozen people with mostly light injuries.
The "very strong" typhoon was 70 kilometres (45 miles) southwest of Naha city, Okinawa, at 04:00 GMT, packing gusts of up to 216 kilometres (135 miles) per hour, said the Japan Meteorological Agency.
The storm caused power blackouts in more than 60,000 homes, led government offices and many business to shut down, and saw airlines cancel all flights to and from the island prefecture for the day.
"Across Okinawa, 54 people have voluntarily evacuated their homes" for nearby shelters such as schools, said a disaster response official.
The storm was moving northwest toward China at about 10 kilometres per hour. It is expected to make landfall there late Saturday or early Sunday.
To prepare for the powerful typhoon, China called more than 7,000 fishing boats back to port on Friday, and authorities in Shanghai warned that bullet train services might be affected.
The Okinawa government said it had received reports of 12 injuries. All cases were minor, except for a woman in her 60s who broke her thighbone.
Okinawa Electric Power said 62,400 of a total 517,200 customer households in the prefecture were without power as of the early afternoon.