A strong typhoon swept toward southwestern Japan with fierce winds and heavy rains Sunday, leaving at least five people dead or missing and injuring more than 100.

More than 300 flights were grounded, cars were blown over and strong winds were suspected in an express train derailment that injured five people, local media reported.

Thousands of people, meanwhile, sought refuge in public shelters.

Although Typhoon Shanshan had weakened overnight, it was still lashing the region with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. It was forecast to continue churning northeast toward Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

Heavy rain warnings were issued for much of western Japan, and the storm killed four people before even making landfall.

CountryWatch: Japan

A father and teenage daughter died Saturday when their car was hit by a flash flood, Kyodo News agency and public broadcaster NHK said. Another man was swept away in high waters, Kyodo said.

One man was killed and another missing in Hiroshima prefecture, NHK said.

More than 100 others have been injured by the storm, which started churning toward Japan early Saturday after sweeping past Taiwan.

Authorities suspected that a sudden gust from Shanshan lifted two train cars from their tracks in the southern prefecture of Miyazaki, injuring five people, reports said. The train was moving slowly because of the storm.

Some super-express bullet train service was suspended because the storm and ship traffic was disrupted.

Gusts of 155 mph were recorded Saturday on Iriomote Island, near Taiwan, the strongest winds ever observed there, Kyodo said. Up to 14 inches of rain were expected to fall in some areas of southwestern Japan by midday Monday, NHK reported.

Typhoons and tropical storms frequently hit eastern Asia, especially Japan and Taiwan, in the summer and fall.