Typhoon Trami drenches southern Japan as it marches toward mainland

Japan Meteorological Agency model of Trami's path over next three days

A powerful typhoon has brought heavy rain and high winds as it approaches southern Japan, causing power outages in several cities and prompting Kansai International Airport near Osaka to plan a temporary closure of its runways from Sunday.

Japan issued evacuation orders and warnings to about 700,000 households in southern and western Japan.

Both airline groups cancelled all flights to and from Naha, Ishigaki and Miyako airports in Okinawa Prefecture.

Weather conditions forced Japanese airlines to cancel at least 386 flights to and from Naha Airport in Okinawa, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The typhoon is not expected to hit the capital head-on but strong winds and heavy rain are still feared from later Sunday.

Moreover, the Ryukyu Islands from Okinawa northward and regions from southern Kyushu to Shikoku and south-central Honshu are expected to experience the most severe impacts.

Bullet train and other rail services were suspended while the storm passed. Tokyo's train lines announced they were shutting down after 8pm (6pm in Thailand).

Images received by Stars and Stripes from around the island revealed devastation of all sorts: Flooding caused by storm surge along the coastline, damaged vessels, overturned vehicles, trees, power lines and branches blown down and buildings damaged and collapsed.

The typhoon is projected to hit regions ravaged earlier this month by Typhoon Jebi, which caused landslides and floods and temporarily shut Kansai International Airport.

Typhoon Trami lost some strength after making landfall near Tanabe City, 450 km (280 miles) southwest of Tokyo, earlier in the evening, prompting the Japan Meteorological Agency to downgrade it to a "strong" typhoon from an "extremely strong" one.

The airport also was closed for this latest typhoon.

At least 84 people suffered minor injuries.

The storm's huge eye was forecast to move near the city of Osaka before churning across the Japanese archipelago, likely hitting areas still recovering from extreme weather that has battered Japan in recent months.

"We are strongly urging our residents to stay indoors because it is extremely risky to be outside now", Masaaki Tamaki, an official of Kagoshima's disaster management section, told AFP.

West Japan Railway Co said it will also suspend all train services in the metropolitan area centering on Osaka by noon Sunday as a precautionary measure.

Images from the International Space Station posted on Twitter by astronaut Alexander Gerst on Tuesday showed Trami's enormous eye which he said was "as if somebody pulled the planet's very big plug". Nearly all of services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line are also being suspended throughout September 30, according to Central Japan Railway Co.