Japan's Meteorological Agency says that as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Typhoon Khanun was estimated to be 90 kilometers west of the prefecture's Kumejima Island. It was moving west-northwest at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour.
Maximum wind speeds on Wednesday are expected to reach 162 kilometers per hour in the Okinawa region, and 90 kilometers per hour in the Amami region slightly further north. Peak gusts could hit 234 kilometers per hour in Okinawa, strong enough to make buildings collapse.
The typhoon is also likely to bring torrential rain accompanied by lightning. In the 24-hour period through Thursday noon, as much as 200 millimeters of rain is expected in the Okinawa region, and 120 millimeters in Amami. More rainfall is likely through Saturday.
Officials are warning of flooding in coastal areas of both regions due to storm surges expected at full tide.
They say Typhoon Khanun is forecast to slow down over the East China Sea, so weather in the areas could be affected for a prolonged period.
The officials warn of landslides, flooding and swollen rivers. They are urging people to take shelter in sturdy buildings before the wind and rain grow stronger.
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Fatality linked to typhoon
Typhoon Khanun has left one person dead and 35 others injured in Okinawa Prefecture as of 3 p.m.
A 90-year-old man was crushed to death in Okinawa Prefecture on Tuesday night when his garage collapsed. Police believe that the building may have collapsed due to strong winds from the typhoon.
Police and fire department officials say that Sakiyama Yoshihiro was crushed under the tin roof. Firefighters transported him to hospital, but he died around 2 hours later.
The Okinawa Electric Power Company says that as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, 202,650 households in Okinawa were without power due to the typhoon. That is about 31 percent of households in the prefecture. Utility officials say very strong winds are delaying work to restore power.
Kyushu Electric Power Company says 9,370 households in Kagoshima Prefecture were without power.
Cancelation of transportation services
All flights to and from Naha, Miyako, and Shin-Ishigaki airports have been cancelled with at least 65,000 people expected to be affected. Terminal buildings of those three airports, as well as Shimojishima airport, have been closed all day on Wednesday.
All ferry services connecting the main island of Okinawa with surrounding islands, as well as ferries connecting the islands of Miyako and Ishigaki with surrounding islands, have been canceled.