More than one million people in Japan have been ordered to evacuate as Typhoon Roke brought devastating heavy rain and floods that have thus far left three dead.
The Japanese weather agency has said even more powerful winds could land in central Japan Wednesday and move northeast. In the last 24 hours, maximum sustained winds have increased from 80 to 130 miles per hour.
A 65-year-old man in Nagoya fell to his death while fixing a stuck drain, a Jiji Press news agency reported. In neighboring Gifu, a nine-year-old boy and an 84-year-old man were feared to have been swept away by rising floodwaters.
"We ask that the highest level of caution be used because of the heavy rain, strong wind, and high waves,” an official with the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a televised news conference.
Worried that rivers might burst their banks, the city of Nagoya, a regional commercial hub located near the home of Toyota Motor issued an evacuation advisory of 1.09 million residents. The advisory was lifted from parts of the city but landslide, flooding and tornado warnings are affecting over a million people.
Water has poured into the city’s subway system. Television images showed pedestrians wading knee-deep in water, helped by firefighters with rafts.
The agency warned of downpours over a wide area of the country on Wednesday, saying as much as 50 millimeters of rain could fall in an hour. The typhoon's possible path includes a Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as the storm is then expected to move towards the disaster-ravaged Tohoku region north of Tokyo.
Japan is still dealing with the effects of Typhoon Talas earlier this month, leaving around 100 people dead or missing, mostly in the west of the country. Roke is equivalent to a high-end category three or low-end category four hurricane.