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VLADIVOSTOK, September 22 (Itar-Tass) — Typhoon Roke that on Thursday morning approached the South Kuril Islands has brought there a heavy rain and wind gusts that reached hurricane force on Kunashir - up to 37 metres per second.
According to weather forecasts, waves up to eight metres caused by the typhoon will hit the Kuril Islands chain, the Far Eastern Regional Centre of the Ministry of Emergency Situations said that issued an emergency storm warning.
The Emergencies Ministry says that the hurricane and rain can knock down trees, break wires of power transmission lines and cut off communication, hamper the work of all transport types, disrupt population’s life support services.
Rescuers have advised residents of the Kuril Islands to take all necessary measures to ensure their own safety and temporarily restrict travel by motor transport outside their settlements.
The whole small fishing fleet took shelter on the windward side of the Kuril chain. Large trawlers and floating factories left the islands and are in a gale at sea, there are no deep-water bays at the Kuril Islands where large vessels can find shelter from the typhoon, the Sakhalin service for monitoring the fishing fleet said.
The regional centre stressed that the forces and means of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s main department for the Sakhalin region are ready to respond to potential emergencies.
As of 03:45 UTC September 22, Typhoon Roke was located within 30 nautical miles of 44.2°N 147.8°E, about 200 km (120 mi) east-northeast of Nemuro, Japan. Maximum sustained winds are 65 knots (120 km/h; 75 mph), gusting to 95 knots (176 km/h; 109 mph). Minimum central pressure is 975 mbar (hPa; 28.79 InHg), and the system is moving northeast at 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph).
Roke is weakening, becoming extratropical and affecting the Kuril Islands. It is anticipated to become extratropical over the Kuril Islands. The area of 30 kt winds or more ranges upto 600 km (370 mi) from the centre to the southeast side and 370 km (230 mi) from the centre to the northwest side. The area of 50 kt winds or more ranges up to 190 km (120 mi) from the centre to the southeast side and 70 km (43 mi) from the centre to the northwest side.
On approaching Japan, the typhoon instantly claimed four lives in central and western Japan, leaving two more missing in Gifu Prefecture following widespread flooding triggered by the heavy rains. A large number of expressways were closed and up-to 200 flights were cancelled after floodwater reached knee-level. Toyota Motor Corp, a multinational automaker headquartered in Toyota City, Aichi, Japan, shut down 11 factories in central Japan eliminating evening shifts due to the typhoon. The Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said, “We need to exercise the maximum caution against heavy rain, strong winds and high waves in wide areas from western to northern Japan, according to the Meteorological agency.” Soon, the strong winds and heavy rains brought by Roke cut power to more than 575,500 households in Tokyo Electric Power Company's service area. Also, commuter trains were halted and thousands of passengers were stranded though they tried to go home early before the storm hit the capital city of Tokyo. Later on September 21, local police and media reported that six people were dead after being swept away by overflowing rivers with rains from Roke. Unlike Talas, Roke moved significantly fast both inland and over the ocean. However, it was also unusually stronger. Also, the Nissan Motor Company’s spokesman Chris Keeffe said “workers at its Yokohama headquarters and nearby technical facilities were being told to go home early for safety reasons,” and two plants were not operating.