A powerful typhoon that slammed into southern Japan saw the region hit by gale force winds and torrential rain leading to power outages, major transport disruptions and the evacuation of thousands of people.

Meteorologists warned of strong winds and high waves “like never before”, with the threat of river overflows and landslides.

Typhoon Nanmadol, classified as a super typhoon by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, is slowly heading north towards the country’s southern main island, Kyushu.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the region would be inundated with 500mm (20 inches) of rain and wind gusts of up to 155mph (250kph) on Sunday.

Nanmadol is then expected to turn east and reach Tokyo on Tuesday before setting sail.

In the affected areas, thousands of residents have taken refuge in evacuation centres.

The Kyushu Electric Power Company said more than 93,000 homes across the island were without power on Sunday due to power line damage.

Hundreds of domestic flights to and from the region have been canceled and more are expected to be grounded in western Japan until Tuesday.

Public transport, including rail services and buses, has also been suspended along with the famous high-speed train.

Hundreds of stores have closed in the face of extreme weather conditions.

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