One million flee Typhoon Roke in Japan

More than 1 million people have been urged to evacuate the Kii Peninsula area in central Japan before Typhoon Roke hits, including 80,000 people who’ve been ordered to leave the city of Nagoya.

According to Bloomberg News:

That’s more than double the numbers for typhoon Talas earlier this month, which dumped record rainfall on southern Japan, causing mudslides and floods that killed 67 people and left 26 missing. Talas was the deadliest storm to hit Japan in seven years.

Typhoon Roke is expected to strike Japan's largest island of Honshu on Wednesday, causing floods and mudslides.

“The major difference between the two typhoons was Talas was slow-moving over the Kii peninsula, dumping rain in the same area, while Roke is fast moving,” Kenji Okada, a forecaster at the Japan Meteorological Agency, told Bloomberg News. “Roke is bringing strong gusts and dumping rain in a wide region.”

At 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday, the eye of the typhoon, located 928 kilometers (575 miles) southwest of Tokyo, had wind speeds of 144 kilometers (89 miles) per hour, with gusts of 216 kilometers per hour, Bloomberg News reports. The Japan Meteorological Agency has forecast that the typhoon will take three days to pass over Japan.

On Tuesday, the water was already up to people’s knees in Nagoya, The Associated Press reports, and some residents were forced to flee their homes in rubber boats.

The typhoon also claimed its first two victims on Tuesday.

According to Mainichi Daily News:

In Gifu Prefecture, a fourth-grade boy is missing after being swept away in a swollen waterway in the city of Tajimi at around 2 p.m. Tuesday, the prefectural government said. And in the town of Shirakawa, an 84-year-old man fell into a river and went missing, police said.

One particular concern is that the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, damaged in the March earthquake and tsunami, is in the path of the typhoon.

The storm was expected to result in heavy downpours, which could potentially set back decontamination efforts there. Workers have been trying to control leakage of water into the basements of the Dai-Ichi reactor buildings since the March disaster, Bloomberg News reports. They contained 102 million liters of radioactive water as of Sept. 13.