Photo/IllutrationPreparing for the approaching Typhoon No. 19, a man on Oct. 8 places sandbags on a roof still covered by tarps due to the damage by a powerful typhoon that hit the area in September in Kyonan, Chiba Prefecture. (Yuta Takahashi)

An extremely powerful typhoon looks headed to pound areas stretching from Shikoku to the Tohoku region on Oct. 12 and 13, the Japan Meteorological Agency said Oct. 9.

The agency usually holds a news conference the day before a typhoon approaches Japan, but given the strength of Typhoon No. 19, it decided to issue a warning well ahead of schedule to prepare residents in areas likely to be affected.

The typhoon is expected to pack winds as strong as Typhoon No. 15 that devastated Chiba Prefecture in September and affect wide areas.

Officials urged the public to pay close attention to up-to-date weather information and called on residents to take precautions as early as possible, particularly in areas hit by recent disasters.

The agency said the typhoon is most likely headed for eastern Japan, but may also strike the Kinki and Shikoku regions before moving northward through the Hokuriku and Tohoku regions, if it takes a westerly path.