Typhoon Muifa approaching Okinawa's southern islands

Japanese weather officials say Typhoon Muifa may approach the southern prefecture of Okinawa from Sunday through Tuesday and pound the Sakishima Islands with strong winds and rough seas.

The agency said Muifa was moving northwest over waters south of Okinawa at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

It said Muifa has a central atmospheric pressure of 970 hectopascals, with maximum winds of about 126 kilometers per hour and gusts of 180 kilometers per hour.

The agency said the typhoon is expected to keep developing while moving north, and approach the Okinawa region from Sunday through Tuesday.
Fierce winds are expected to start lashing the Sakishima Islands on Sunday. Maximum winds could reach 180 kilometers per hour in the Yaeyama region and 104 kilometers per hour in the Miyakojima region, with gusts of up to 252 kilometers per hour in the Yaeyama region and 162 kilometers per hour in the Miyakojima region. Such winds are strong enough to destroy homes.

The seas around the islands are expected to become rough on Sunday, with waves expected to rise to 10 meters in the Yaeyama and Miyakojima regions.

Heavy rains are expected on the Sakishima Islands between Sunday and Wednesday.

The agency says Muifa may start to slow down on Monday, causing its impact to linger on the islands.

The agency is calling on people to stay alert for violent winds, high waves and heavy rain.