Typhoon Muifa brings rain, strong winds to Okinawa islands

Typhoon Muifa brought heavy rain and strong winds to the Sakishima Islands in southwestern Japan's Okinawa Prefecture on Monday, the country's weather agency said, with its sluggish progress expected to cause disruption to the islands into Wednesday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency warned of powerful winds and rough seas, as well as landslides and overflowing rivers as a result of the heavy rainfall. It also said strong winds and stormy conditions capable of damaging homes could continue into Tuesday.

The season's 12th typhoon, which was slowly heading north toward the East China Sea, passed over Ishigaki Island at around noon, the weather agency said.

As of 11 a.m., it had an atmospheric pressure of 955 hectopascals at its center and maximum wind speeds of up to 216 kilometers per hour.

On the island of Hateruma, a record 357.5 millimeters of rainfall was registered over 24 hours ending Monday morning, with 42 mm falling on Ishigaki in an hour.

The typhoon led All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines to cancel flights to and from the islands of Miyako and Ishigaki. Voting in Okinawa Prefecture's gubernatorial election took place on Friday rather than Sunday in parts of the city of Miyakojima.

According to the weather agency, the typhoon is forecast to pack winds of up to 216 kph on Monday and Tuesday, before weakening to between 72 and 108 kph on Wednesday.

The agency also said atmospheric conditions within and around the typhoon are very unstable. It forecast 300 mm of rainfall in Okinawa in the 24-hour period ending noon Tuesday, and between 50 and 100 mm in the subsequent 24 hours.

Typhoon Merbok, the 13th of the season, was also reported by the weather agency on Monday to have formed off Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean, but it is expected to remain far to the east of Japan.

© Kyodo News