Typhoon Nanmadol approaching Okinawa, southern Kyushu

Weather officials in Japan say a large and powerful typhoon is expected to approach the Daito Islands in Okinawa Prefecture on Saturday and the Amami region of Kagoshima Prefecture and the southern Kyushu region by Saturday night.

After moving over the Kyushu region through Monday, Typhoon Nanmadol is forecast to head northeast and travel across Japan's main island, Honshu, to eastern and northern Japan through Tuesday.

The typhoon could cause disruptions in many regions during the three-day weekend through Monday. Weather officials are urging people to be prepared.

The Meteorological Agency says that at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Nanmadol was traveling northwest over the sea 240 kilometers east of Minami Daito Island at 20 kilometers per hour.

The typhoon had a central atmospheric pressure of 910 hectopascals. It was packing winds of up to 198 kilometers per hour near its center, with peak gusts reaching 270 kilometers per hour.

Officials say the typhoon will hit the Daito Islands with violent winds, and generate very rough seas.

On Saturday, the wind speed is projected to hit a maximum of 108 kilometers per hour in the Amami region and southern Kyushu, and 90 kilometers per hour in the Daito Islands. Peak gusts will be in the range of 126 kilometers to 162 kilometers per hour.

Winds are expected to get even stronger on Sunday, increasing to 144 kilometers to 180 kilometers per hour in the Amami region and southern Kyushu, 108 kilometers to 144 kilometers per hour in northern Kyushu, 90 kilometers to 104 kilometers per hour in the Shikoku region, and 72 kilometers to 86 kilometers per hour in Daito, Chugoku and Kinki.

Seas will also be very rough around southern Kyushu, the Daito Islands and the Amami region, with waves expected to reach heights of 12 meters in southern Kyushu and 10 meters in Daito and Amami.

Tide levels are expected to rise in northern Kyushu, the Chugoku region and the Shikoku region from Sunday through Tuesday. Storm surges and big swells could cause flooding in coastal areas and lowlands around river mouths.

Rainfall in the 24-hour period through late Saturday afternoon could reach 250 millimeters in southern Kyushu, the Amami region and the Tokai region, 200 millimeters in Daito Islands and the Shikoku region, 180 millimeters in the Kinki region, 150 millimeters in northern Kyushu and 100 millimeters in the Kanto Koshin regions.

Weather officials have issued a warning for violent gusts, big swells and storm surges, landslides, swollen rivers, and flooding -- mainly in western Japan, Okinawa and Amami.

The typhoon could cause extensive disruptions to transportation services during the three-day holiday.

Weather officials are urging residents in areas likely to be affected to keep checking the latest forecasts and warnings, refrain from non-essential outings, and be well prepared.