Typhoon Haishen blew at 195 kph (121 mph) and 240 kph (149 mph), the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic, CNN Weather reported Sunday.
It was the second powerful storm to hit the region in a week. Typhoon Mesaic – the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane with winds of at least 130 mph – followed a path similar to Heishen.
Haishen hit the Rukyu Islands off the southwest coast of Japan on Sunday, bringing strong winds and heavy rains to the region, knocking out thousands of homes.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the storm is currently near the island of Amami-Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture and will move northward along the west coast of Kyushu Island from Sunday night until Monday night local time. The storm is expected to continue on its way north and affect the Korean peninsula in the next 36 hours.
The JMA said Haishen was slightly weakened but was taking maximum care for heavy rain, strong winds, high waves and tidal surges. The typhoon is expected to bring 100 to 150 millimeters of rain to the Japanese and Korean peninsulas, with some areas seeing more than 200 millimeters of rain.
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK says 246,251 people have been evacuated from the Kagoshima prefecture. Another 36,392 people in Nagasaki prefecture were evacuated before the storm.
More than 200,000 homes in Kagoshima and 3,930 homes in Okinawa are without electricity.
More than 500 flights were canceled in southern Kyushu and Okinawa on Sunday, affecting Haishen transport networks.
Mesak also brought devastating winds and heavy rain on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korean state news agency KCNA said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had arranged a meeting in the affected areas to discuss the recovery of the storm. It is learned that Kim has ordered the military to assist in repair efforts in the Hong Kong provinces and fired the southern Hong Kong Provincial Party chief.
KCNA said Kim had called on Pyongyang citizens to volunteer for repair efforts in areas damaged by typhoon Mesa. The North Korean leader said more than 1,000 homes had been destroyed and homes and public facilities in southern Hong Kong province had been submerged, leaving many homeless.
North Korea is now preparing for Typhoon Haichen, which, according to the KNCA, includes efforts to educate residents on disaster response guidelines, evacuation locations and evacuation routes.
The Korean Meteorological Administration predicts that the storm will not hit the Korean Peninsula directly like the first thought on the Korean Peninsula, but will travel along the east coast.
The agency issued a preliminary storm warning for all South Korean provinces as well as a heavy rain warning for northern Gangwon province.
Robert Shackford and Angus Watson of CNN Weather collaborated on reporting.