Typhoon likely to approach Okinawa island chain

Weather officials in Japan say Typhoon Chanthu is likely to bring violent winds as it approaches a remote island chain in Okinawa Prefecture through Sunday to Monday.

Japan's Meteorological Agency says the typhoon passed near the Philippines, and was moving north-northwest at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour south of Okinawa at noon on Saturday, Japan time.

It has a central atmospheric pressure of 910 hectopascals, and a storm zone with a radius of 85 kilometers.

Winds of up to 198 kilometers per hour are blowing near the center, with gusts of up to 288 kilometers per hour.

The typhoon is likely to keep moving northward while retaining strength, and approach the Sakishima Islands of Okinawa Prefecture on Sunday afternoon or later.

The Yaeyama region of the chain, which includes Yonaguni and Ishigaki islands, is expected to experience winds of up to 162 kilometers per hour, while maximum wind speeds could exceed 234 kilometers per hour.

Weather officials are calling on people to take precautions, such as moving into sturdy buildings, before the winds get stronger and warn that utility poles and concrete block walls may collapse and cars overturn.

The seas around the Yaeyama region are expected to become rough, with waves as high as 10 meters on Sunday.

Officials also warn that the typhoon may bring extremely heavy rain to the Sakishima Islands.

In the Okinawa region, 130 millimeters of rain are expected in the 24 hours through noon on Sunday, and 100 to 200 millimeters in the 24 hours through noon on Monday.