Southwestern Japan braces for powerful typhoon

People in southwestern Japan are preparing for a powerful typhoon that may become one of the strongest storms to hit Japan in decades.

Haishen could make landfall at close to full strength Sunday or Monday. Weather officials are calling on people to prepare with the utmost caution.

Japan Meteorological Agency official Nakamoto Yoshihisa said, "We urge people in areas where the typhoon is approaching to be on the highest alert, as it could bring record heavy rain, violent winds, high waves and storm surges."

Nakamoto said people in affected areas should be ready for possible tremendous damage.
Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo met his cabinet on Friday to lay out emergency plans.

Abe said, "Please refrain from going out unless absolutely necessary, and take measures early to protect your life, based on evacuation information issued by local governments."

Emergency preparations have begun across the southwest. Local farmers in Kumamoto are rushing to shield their crops. The prefecture suffered severe damage from heavy rains in July.

Officials are releasing water from over 20 dams across western Japan as they prepare for what could be an onslaught of rain. The typhoon is expected to hit Okinawa first. Residents there are busy protecting their homes.