Extratropical Storm 20W (Nuri), # 3: Alaska in for pounding

12:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 7, Alaska time: The northernmost state in the country could end up with its own version of Superstorm Sandy come the weekend.

The remnants of former Super Typhoon Nuri, now an extratropical cold-core low, is rapidly moving northeast through the Aleutian islands toward the Bering Sea, still packing sustained 50-mph winds and 70-mph gusts, according to several meteorological agency Web sites.

AccuWeather.com reports that Alaska could see hurricane-force winds, 45-foot seas and a storm surge for western Alaska, similar to what hit and devastated parts of Long Island when Sandy crashed ashore in October 2012. The National Weather Service is warning of gusts between 80 and 100 mph in the westernmost Aleutians late Friday into Saturday and peak waves along the west coast of Alaska could be well higher than 45 feet, The Washington Post reported.

Nuri could become the most powerful storm to impact the Bering Sea in terms of central air pressure, AccuWeather.com reported. The current record is 925 millibars from a storm that moved over the Bering Sea in October 1977. The lowest air pressure from any extratropical northern storm on record is 913 millibars, set in 1993 in the North Sea east of Scotland.


2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, Japan time: Nuri is still not forecast to threaten Okinawa, or any land mass, for that matter; Joint Typhoon Warning Center takes Nuri’s forecast track well east of Okinawa and south of the Kanto Plain through this week.

But if it reaches peak intensity as forecast by the JTWC, Nuri, already a super typhoon, could become the strongest storm ever recorded – even stronger than Haiyan which devastated the central Philippines last November.

JTWC projects Nuri to peak Monday evening at 196-mph sustained winds and 236-mph gusts, equivalent to a super-strong Category 5 hurricane. Though projections keep Nuri well away from land, PST has a sharp eye on it.

Super Typhoon 19W (Vongfong) by the numbers

3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, Japan time: Here’s the final Super Typhoon Vongfong damage report by the Okinawa prefecture government’s crisis management office as of Tuesday:

Two were killed, one remains missing, 26 people hurt, three suffering serious injuries.

Tropical Depression 02C (Ana), # 2

10:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, Hawaii time: With every passing update from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, it appears as if Tropical Storm Ana might pass about 185 miles south of Hilo about midnight Saturday, then about 130 miles south of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam some eight hours later as either a strong tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane. All U.S. bases appear to be outside of Ana's 40-mph wind bands, according to JTWC's latest forecast track. PST is keeping an eye on it.

5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, Hawaii time: After not taking a hurricane for more than two decades, Hawaii could see a second one hit the islands just this year alone. Tropical Depression 02C spawned earlier Monday and is on course to strike the Big Island on Saturday as a Category 1 hurricane.This, just two months after Hurricane Iselle became the strongest hurricane ever recorded on the Big Island. Before 2014, the last hurricane to hit Hawaii was Hurricane Iniki in 1992. More later.

Typhoon safety: Stay away from shore

Stripes reported on Monday about an incident involving six airmen from Kadena Air Base who were trying to photograph the waves along Okinawa’s northwest coastline as Typhoon Phanfone passed by en route to the Japanese main islands. Four ended up in the drink. Only one made it back alive, one washed ashore unconscious and two others remained missing as of Monday afternoon.

PST over the years has repeatedly warned against U.S. personnel engaging in such behavior during tropical cyclones and other dangerous weather. Especially folks who are new to the island and hail from areas in the States where tropical cyclones are not prevalent.

Tropical Storm 19W (Vongfong), # 55 FINAL

Super Typhoon Vongfong is seen in this NOAA satellite image taken Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.

2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, Japan time:Tropical Storm Vongfong has made its closest approach to Sasebo Naval Base and is on course to pass 97 miles southeast of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in a couple of hours, bringing 29- to 35-mph sustained winds and 40- to 46-mph gusts and between 2 to 3 inches of rain the rest of the day. Similar is expected at Kanto Plain bases tonight into Tuesday, with rapid clearing by the afternoon. All mainland bases remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch. Barring any sudden changes, PST will (finally) check out regarding Vongfong.

11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, Japan time: 18th Wing commanding officer has issued seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 for U.S. bases on Okinawa as of 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Typhoon 18W (Phanfone), # 30 FINAL

Super Typhoon Phanfone can be seen south of Japan in this false-color satellite image taken Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014.

2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, Japan time: Typhoon Phanfone is rapidly moving northeast out of the Tokyo-Kanto Plain area. Yokosuka Naval Base and Naval Air Facility Atsugi have issued Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery) and Yokota Air Base has declared all clear. PST signs off regarding Phanfone and turns its full attention to Vongfong.

8:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 6, Japan time: Kanto bases remain in Phanfone’s crosshairs as it approaches the Tokyo area rapidly. Yokosuka Naval Base remains a prime target. All U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1 or beyond. Yokosuka remains in TCCOR 1-C (caution). Forecast wind timeline for Yokosuka follows:

Tropical Depression 18W, #1

6 a.m. Monday, Sept. 29, Japan time: Way too early to say definitively which way it will exactly head, but the Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s first warning on Tropical Depression 18W takes it in the general direction of Okinawa. Something to keep an eye on. PST will surely keep a sharp lookout.
 On the Web: http://www.usno.navy.mil/NOOC/nmfc-ph/RSS/jtwc/warnings/wp1814.gif

Tropical Depression 17W (Kammuri), # 1: Zig-zag walk east of Japan

A satellite composite image of Kammuri taken on Sept. 24, 2014, courtesy of NOAA Satellite and Information Service.

12:20 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, Japan time: The 17th numbered storm of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season, Kammuri, has spawned northeast of Saipan. It’s forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to do a zig-zag walk north toward Iwo Jima, then head northeast, though the Tokyo area appears to be well out of harm’s way … but that’s for the moment.

There is little more predictable than a tropical cyclone in its infancy. Current forecast tracks take Kammuri just east of Iwo Jima, then curving northeast about 300 miles south-southeast of U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain come Tuesday. But there’s a spread of about 370 miles among the various dynamic computer models regarding a track solution. It’s very early to definitively conclude which way Kammuri will move. PST will monitor.

Tropical Storm 16W (Fung-wong), #8 FINAL

Fung-wong is seen in this false-color NOAA satellite image taken Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014.

11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, Japan time: Latest forecast track from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center has Tropical Storm Fung-wong meeting its demise over China, just south of Shanghai, come mid-morning Tuesday. Unless this changes, PST is signing off regarding Fung-wong.

11:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, Japan time: More of the same. Another Joint Typhoon Warning Center update, another forecast track further west than previous.  Latest track now takes Fung-wong further inland over China, following a dalliance with Taiwan over the next couple of days. Closest point of approach is now 450 miles north of Okinawa at 9 p.m. Wednesday, provided it heads in that direction. Some dynamic models forecast a curve northeast after it plows over China; other models take it further inland. PST still keeping an eye on it.

Tropical Depression 15W, # 1

11:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, Philippines time: A new tropical depression spawned overnight Wednesday south of Guam and is headed rather rapidly toward the Philippines’ northernmost Luzon island, with landfall forecast for 8 a.m. Monday, packing 115-mph sustained winds and 144-mph gusts. 15W is forecast to track 167 miles north of the former Clark Air Base and 204 miles north of the old Subic Bay Naval Station between 4 and 6 p.m. Monday. 15W should be well out of Okinawa’s way, but these things have ways of changing. PST will keep an eyeball on it.



Stay safe and informed


About the Author

Dave Ornauer has been with Stars and Stripes since March 5, 1981. One of his first assignments as a beat reporter in the old Japan News Bureau was “typhoon chaser,” a task which he resumed virtually full time since 2004, the year after his job, as a sports writer-photographer, moved to Okinawa and Ornauer with it.

As a typhoon reporter, Ornauer pores over Web sites managed by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center as well as U.S. government, military and local weather outlets for timely, topical information. Pacific Storm Tracker is designed to take the technical lingo published on those sites and simplify it for the average Stripes reader.