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Powerful Typhoon Whips Japan's Okinawa Islands

Bringing winds that gust higher than 100 mph, Typhoon Neoguri is bearing down on the Okinawa island chain in southern Japan. More than 100,000 households are without power, and over a half-million people have reportedly been asked to evacuate.

As it neared the coast, the storm "weakened from its original status as a super typhoon but remained intense," the Japan Times says, "with gusts of more than 250 km per hour (155 mph)."

The most recent report on the storm seems to be from broadcaster NHK, which says it's now about 100 miles from Okinawa's Kume Island. The agency says Neoguri is already being blamed for 19 injuries.

When its full force hits the main island of Okinawa, NHK says, the typhoon could bring waves that are 45 feet tall.

The forecast released by the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center this morning predicts that Neoguri will continue northward before veering east and raking through southwestern Japan. The service says the storm is currently bringing 40-foot waves.

"Flights have been canceled and schools shut," the BBC reports. "Local television footage showed palm trees being tossed by the wind."

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