NHK, which collects alerts from local authorities, said level four evacuation instructions — the second-highest — had been issued for people in Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Miyazaki in the southern Kyushu region.
The move came as Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued its highest warning for the Kagoshima region, a warning that comes when it predicts conditions seen only once every decades.
It is the first special warning associated with typhoons outside the Okinawa region since the current system began in 2013.
On Saturday night, Typhoon Nanmadol was classified in the agency’s highest category of “violent” and picked up wind gusts of up to 270 kilometers (167 miles) as it hovered about 200 kilometers northeast of Minami Daito Island, part of a series of remote islands that make up the region of Okinawa.
The storm is expected to approach or make landfall in Kagoshima Prefecture on Sunday, moving north the next day before heading toward Japan’s main island.
“There are risks of unprecedented storms, high waves, storm surges and record rains,” Ryuta says. Kurorathe head of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s forecasting unit told reporters.
“Maximum caution is required,” he said, urging residents to evacuate early.
“It is a very dangerous typhoon.”
“The wind will be so strong that some houses could collapse,” Kurora told reporters, who also warned of flooding and landslides.
The evacuation warnings are calling on people to move to shelter or alternative accommodation that can withstand extreme weather.
But they are not required, and during past extreme weather events, authorities have struggled to convince residents to take shelter quickly enough.
Kurora said that even in strong buildings, residents should take precautions.
“Please move to solid buildings before strong winds start blowing and stay away from windows, even in solid buildings,” he said at a late-night press conference.
Japan is currently in typhoon season and faces about 20 such storms a year, with regular heavy rainfall causing landslides or flash flooding.
In 2019, Typhoon Hagibis swept into Japan when it hosted the Rugby World Cup, killing more than 100 people.
A year earlier, Typhoon Jebi shut down Kansai Airport in Osaka, killing 14 people.
And in 2018, floods and landslides killed more than 200 people in western Japan during the country’s annual rainy season.
Prior to the arrival of Typhoon Nanmadol, flight cancellations began to affect regional airports, including those in Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto, according to the websites of Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
Scientists say climate change is increasing the severity of storms and making extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and flash floods more frequent and intense.