Typhoon Neoguri Threatens Western Japan’s Already Weak Grid

July 8, 2014 8:25 AM

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Japan has been preparing for Typhoon Neoguri since last weekend, and on Tuesday it began battering Japan’s southernmost Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa and its 1.2 million people. The typhoon will be one of the biggest many parts of southern and western Japan have seen in decades, with Commander James Hecker U.S. Air Force’s 18th wing in Kadena saying Neoguri will be the biggest typhoon Okinawa has seen in 15 years. As Okinawa and Kyushu prepare to take the brunt of what was until Monday categorized as a “super typhoon,” local infrastructure will be pushed to its limits, especially in Kyushu, where the area is saturated from heavy rains last week.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued an alert for Okinawa’s main island, and local officials have advised 480,000 people to evacuate to local municipal buildings. Waves are expected to reach as high as 14 meters, with sustained winds of 198 km (123 miles) per hour and gusts up to 270 kph (168 mp...

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