Typhoon Muifa slowly approaching southwestern Okinawa islands

Typhoon Muifa is moving slowly toward the southwestern islands of Okinawa Prefecture, unleashing heavy rains and stormy winds.

Weather officials say the strong typhoon is approaching Ishigaki Island and the storm zone has engulfed most of the Sakishima Islands, including Ishigaki.

The officials are warning of strong winds and high waves that could last for an extended period of time because Muifa is moving slowly.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says that as of 11 a.m. on Monday, Muifa was over waters 30 kilometers south of Ishigaki Island.

The agency says it is packing winds of up to 144 kilometers per hour near its center and gusts of up to 216 kilometers per hour. Winds of more than 90 kilometers per hour are raging within a radius of 130 kilometers from the center.

Officials are warning of gusts powerful enough to topple some homes through Tuesday morning.

Waters around the Sakishima Islands have become very rough, with waves expected to reach a height of 10 meters.

Heavy rains are also lashing the Sakishima Islands. On Hateruma Island, the precipitation in the 24 hours through 9 a.m. on Monday came to 352.5 millimeters, the highest on record.

Up to 70 millimeters or rainfall per hour is expected in the Sakishima Islands on Monday.

Weather officials say rainfall for the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. on Tuesday could reach 250 millimeters. A further 50 to 100 millimeters of rain is forecast there for the following 24 hours.