Powerful Typhoon Khanun Lashes Southwest Japanese Islands, Grounding Flights and Closing Businesses

Naha airport is deserted as it is closed due to approaching typhoon in Naha, Okinawa, southern Japan, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2023. Photo: Kyodo News via AP

TOKYO — A powerful typhoon approached Japan's southwestern island of Okinawa on Tuesday, lashing the region with strong winds and high waves and forcing transportation to halt and stores to close.

Slow-moving Typhoon Khanun, which means jackfruit in Thai, was heading northwest at speeds of 15 kph (9 mph) on Tuesday night, packing surface winds of up to 180 kph (111 mph). It was at sea southeast of Okinawa’s main island, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The city office in the Okinawan prefectural capital of Naha was closed due to violent winds, while supermarket chains were either shut or operating under shorter hours.

Video on NHK public television showed fallen trees on the streets in Naha. No injuries were reported.

Hundreds of flights into and out of the Naha airport, including more than a dozen international flights connecting to Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai, were canceled, according to the airport. Public transportation on Okinawa, including buses, light rail transit systems and ferries connecting Okinawa to nearby islands, were suspended.

The typhoon was expected to continue moving west and away from the main Japanese archipelago after passing by Okinawa, where it was predicted to bring rainstorms and waves as high as 12 meters (39 feet), the meteorological agency said.

Up to 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) of rainfall were expected in the Okinawa region, it said.

Officials warned residents of violent winds, high waves and flooding, and urged them to stay indoors and away from windows.

Related Articles