KAGOSHIMA | A powerful cyclone was heading towards southern Japan on Sunday, causing high winds and heavy rain, with authorities warning it could be strong enough to smash utility poles and overturn vehicles.
• Read also: Cyclone Haishen: Japan on alert
The cyclone Haishen, categorized as “large” and “extremely strong”, was to cross the Amami region, small islands near Kyushu separating the Pacific Ocean from the East China Sea, on Sunday afternoon.
At 8 a.m. local (Saturday 7 p.m. in Quebec), Haishen was about 150 kilometers southeast of Amami Oshima Island, with gusts of up to 252 km / h.
The storm is expected to reach the north of the island of Kyushu, one of Japan’s main islands, then move to its west coast on Sunday evening through Monday morning, before heading to South Korea, according to the Meteorological Agency of Japan.
More than 200,000 inhabitants of Kyushu were warned Sunday morning: they must seek safety in shelters, according to the emergency services.
Rather than joining the schools and centers provided in these cases, some residents have preferred to take shelter in local hotels to try to reduce the risk of infection from the coronavirus in crowded shelters, according to local media. .
As the cyclone nears inhabited islands, its high winds could become strong enough to smash utility poles and overturn cars, meteorologists warned.
The storm forced the Japanese Coast Guard to halt search operations for crew members of a ship that made a distress call on Wednesday near Amami Oshima Island, hit by a first cyclone, Maysak.
The Coast Guard had rescued a second survivor Friday among the 43 crew members of the Gulf Livestock 1, which transported some 6,000 cows.
But patrol vessels remain at sea to be able to resume searches when the cyclone Haishen will have left the region, an official told AFP.