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Typhoon 08W (Neoguri), # 38 FINAL

Typhoon Neoguri on July 8, 2014.

6 a.m. Thursday, July 10, Japan time: Neoguri has been downgraded to a tropical storm, and already, Sasebo Naval Base has issued Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery). Fleet Activities Sasebo commanding officer Capt. Chip Rock, on CFAS' Facebook page, says he intends to open the base for normal business as soon as possible.

Increased vertical wind shear, interaction with land and cooler sea-surface temperatures are not doing Neoguri any favors. It will continue east near Sasebo, then quickly pass Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain but as little more than a cold-core low, bringing showers and high winds to each as it goes by. Barring any drastic changes, PST will sign off for now.
 


11:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have reverted to seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. No longer is Typhoon Neoguri viewed as a threat to the island.

Sasebo Naval Base remains in TCCOR 1, but the southwestern Kyushu installation is expecting 42-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts overnight before Neoguri moves on north and northeast. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Kanto Plain bases remain in TCCOR Storm Watch. Destructive winds of 58 mph are not expected, but circumstances could change, so be prepared for whatever might come your way.
 



6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Typhoon Neoguri continues to rapidly weaken and could be downgraded to a tropical storm before it reaches landfall around 3 a.m. Thursday over Kyushu.

Some minor adjustments to the forecast track. Neoguri should pass 46 miles southeast of Sasebo Naval Base around 5 a.m. Thursday, 92 miles southeast of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni at 1 p.m. Thursday and almost directly over Kanto Plain bases at 7 a.m. Friday.

Wind parameters pretty much remain the same, though Neoguri could weaken considerably more and the Kanto bases could experience no more than typical summer showers accompanied by gusty winds, and not for very long. U.S. Kanto base Facebook pages are projecting no more than three hours or so of peak weather early Friday morning.


2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Finally. Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch was issued for U.S. bases on Okinawa, according to Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight and Kadena’s and AFN Okinawa’s Facebook page. TCCOR SW was issued at 2 p.m. local time.

This comes after the longest TCCOR 1-R (recovery) period since PST began monitoring tropical cyclones in 2010: 15 hours, 15 minutes.

Only mission-essential personnel, as directed by their unit’s command, must report for duty on Wednesday. Duty for all others resumes Thursday.
 


2 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni has reverted to Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch as of 1 p.m. local time. Damaging winds are not forecast, but there’s still the change of danger since Typhoon Neoguri does remain close by and unforeseen changes in storm track and strength. Iwakuni will remain in Storm Watch until further notice, according to its Facebook page.

Also, Fleet Activities Okinawa announced on its Facebook page that CFAO personnel do not have to report for duty unless directed by supervisors (undoubtedly talking mission- and emergency-essential folk only). Normal duty hours will resume Thursday.
 


12:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Typhoon Neoguri has diminished sharply in intensity over the last six hours, about 20 knots (23 mph) sustained winds at its center, from 105 knots (121 mph) to 85 (98), and has begun picking up forward speed as it hangs a right toward Kyushu.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s latest update shows Neoguri arcing north-northeast at 17 mph, 278 miles southwest of Sasebo Naval Base at noon Wednesday, and making landfall over Kyushu at about 3 a.m. Thursday, 68 miles southeast of Sasebo. It can expect 40- to 46-mph winds and 69-mph gusts but starting around 3 a.m. Thursday, three hours earlier than previous forecasts, given the earlier projected landfall. Virtually all services except for the mess hall will be closed Thursday until Neoguri has passed. The base remains in TCCOR 2.

Neoguri remains on track to pass 108 miles south of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni around 1 p.m. Thursday, five hours earlier than previous forecasts, and the base should get sustained 30-mph winds and gusts between 46 and 52 mph. Iwakuni remains in TCCOR 3.

U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain remain in TCCOR Storm Watch, and can expect sustained 40-mph winds and 51-mph gusts from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, about 1½ hours earlier than anticipated. Neoguri should then exit the Kanto Plain and die out over the northwest Pacific Ocean.

Get your safe on, Japan!
 



Noon Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: As with any bad tropical cyclone such as Neoguri, residual effects are always felt in the aftermath, and Okinawa took its share right on the chin the last couple of days. As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to the island’s Crisis Management Division:

  • 20 people reported injured, one man seriously in Urasoe.
  • 133,000 families, 323,000 residents remained under evacuation advisory.
  • 75,500 homes remained without power.
  • Highway 58, the main artery which connects every U.S. base from Torii Station to Camp Kinser, was flooded and closed early Wednesday between Kadena and Chatan. Traffic resumed with one northbound lane closed due to several stalled vehicles along the road, according to the South National Highway Office of the Okinawa General Bureau.
  • Seven other roads and bridges on the island remained closed due to safety concerns.
  • Okinawa Expressway remained closed.
  • Uruma City issued an evacuation advisory for residents along the flooding Tengan River near Camp Courtney.
  • In the last 72 hours, Okinawa recorded its highest rainfall level in 10 years. Precipitation amounts follow as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, from the Japan Meteorological Agency:
  • Nago, 17.9 inches; Kunigami, 17.4 inches; Koza, 14.4 inches; Naha, 15.7 inches.
     


10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Two burning questions have been asked repeatedly on U.S. bases on Okinawa across social media platforms: 1) Why so much rain associated with Typhoon Neoguri, and 2) When, oh, when will Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch be issued and the lockdown finally end?

Initial forecasts called for between 5 to 7 inches of rain on Okinawa. But as Neoguri’s east quadrants and feeder bands lingered over the island longer than projected, so, too, did the precipitation figures increase; Okinawa is now forecast to receive up to 34 inches of rain.

Why the spike?

“We had one feeder band from the storm camp out right on top of us,” said Master Sgt. Tonya Trythall of Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight. The way Neoguri was rotating “kept it (feeder band) over us even as it was moving away” from Okinawa.

As for moving into Storm Watch, Trythall said that is pretty much out of everybody’s hands except the Air Force civil engineers, Navy staff civil and other damage assessors, and that’s with any storm. Just so happens, with all the flooding, downed trees and tree limbs, cars shoved sideways or even overturned, the assessment “is taking more time than usual,” Trythall said.

One more line of showers is headed Okinawa’s way, after which, around mid-day, “things should start to get back to normal,” Trythall said.
 



9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Looking more and more like the 11 a.m. duty report time for folks at Kadena Air Base was a bit optimistic. Thundershowers continue and there’s much flooding, especially the western portions and in low-lying areas of Okinawa. Please remain indoors while U.S. bases remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery).

 


 

7:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Patience. Typhoon Neoguri is almost through with Okinawa.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery), as staff civil and recovery teams have fanned out to do damage assessments by daylight now that the sun has risen (even if it can’t be seen through this seemingly endless stream of thundershowers).

Kadena Air Base command has directed a duty report time of 11 a.m., which would indicate that decelerated TCCORs will soon be forthcoming. Also, Naha International Airport plans to resume a normal schedule Wednesday, though some early morning flights were delayed or canceled.

Very important to take special care and watch for flooding, especially in low-lying areas. From an initial projection of 5 to 7 inches of rain, Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight’s final wind forecast timeline indicates between 30 and 34 inches when it’s all said and done.

Maximum sustained winds felt on Okinawa as a whole were 74 mph with 113-mph gusts at 2:29 p.m. Tuesday. Strongest winds on Kadena were 74-mph sustained with 101-mph gusts. Closest point of approach was 118½ miles west at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Sasebo Naval Base is due next for a visit by Neoguri. Fleet Activities Sasebo’s Facebook page said Neoguri will decrease in strength and move further south of the base than previously forecast. Sasebo can expect sustained 40- to 46-mph winds and 69-mph gusts between 6 a.m. and noon Thursday. Virtually all services except for the mess hall will be closed Thursday until Neoguri has passed. The base remains in TCCOR 2.

Neoguri remains on track to pass 108 miles south of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni around 6 p.m. Thursday, and the base should get sustained 30-mph winds and gusts between 46 and 52 mph. Iwakuni remains in TCCOR 3.

U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain are in TCCOR Storm Watch and can expect sustained 40-mph winds and 51-mph gusts from 8-11 a.m. on Friday. Neoguri should then exit the Kanto Plain and die out over the northwest Pacific Ocean.




5:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: A long band of showers and thunderstorms continues to persist right over Okinawa, where U.S. bases remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery). No doubt, a shift to TCCOR SW (Storm Watch) will likely wait until after daybreak, when recovery crews and staff civil can complete their damage assessments during daylight hours. Kinda tough to do at night. Patience. This will soon pass.

All other wind parameters for Kanto, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Sasebo Naval Base remain virtually the same, though Typhoon Neoguri will dip a bit further south of the latter two after it makes a sharp curve east, then begin a swift move through Kyusku and along Japan’s east coast before terminating in the northwest Pacific Ocean.

U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain remain in TCCOR Storm Watch.
 


 

1:45 a.m. Wednesday, July 9, Japan time: Recovery process continues for Okinawa, while all eyes now focus on Neoguri’s curve northeast toward Sasebo Naval Base, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and U.S. bases on the Kanto Plain.

Bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery). Sasebo remains in TCCOR 2 with upgrade to TCCOR 1 anticipated by 6 a.m. Wednesday. Iwakuni remains in TCCOR 3; debatable whether Iwakuni will upgrade, considering Neoguri should track well south of the air station. Kanto bases should get a brief visit from Neoguri as it blasts through as a significant but diminishing tropical storm.

PST cannot emphasize enough, TCCOR 1-R doesn’t mean it’s safe to frolic outside in the dark of night on Okinawa, where recovery crews and staff civil have fanned out to look for downed trees, tree limbs and power lines, flooding and other things that pose a danger to folks, be they on base or off. Only emergency-essential crews should be out and about at this point.

AFN television service on base on Okinawa is back up and operational. Says to PST that power to Plaza Housing, which went off for several hours, is back up as well. For those still without power, give it time; staff civil is working it vigorously and will have it up in no time.

Neoguri should next pay a visit to Kyushu and pass about 81 miles southeast of Sasebo at 10 a.m. Thursday. Sasebo will likely at most get 52- and 63-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at Neoguri’s closest point of approach.

Iwakuni should be ever further out of harm’s way; Neoguri should pass 110 miles southeast around 6 p.m. Thursday, and the base should get sustained 30-mph winds and gusts between 46 and 52 mph..

While Neoguri will venture much closer to the Kanto Plain – almost right over U.S. bases – it will be a quick, brief visit. Neoguri will still be packing significant tropical-storm winds, 52-mph sustained and 63-mph gusts as it roars past and into the western Pacific Ocean.

Though Neoguri is losing its punch rapidly, it’s still time for folks in all corners of U.S. Forces Japan to remain cautious and play things safely.

 


 

10:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery). Sustained 58-mph winds are no longer occurring.

Folks, this is not the time to go out and suggest that the storm is over. The recovery process is just starting. Recovery crews and staff civil are headed out into the thick of night to assess storm damage, downed trees and power lines, building damage, flooding and anything else that might pose a danger to folks on the bases.

If you’re off base, resist the temptation to go out and risk being hit by a tree limb or a power line that has not yet fallen. These are still dangerous times. Remain indoors until the all-clear (seasonal TCCOR 4) has been announced.
 



8 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: Typhoon Neoguri’s back-side wind bands remain over Okinawa and sustained 58-mph winds keep raking the island, keeping U.S. bases in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E (emergency) for at least three more hours, perhaps longer.

Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight’s latest wind forecast timeline has 58-mph sustained winds continuing until 11 p.m., then winds diminishing below 40 mph by 1 a.m. Wednesday. It may take longer; back-side winds associated with Okinawa typhoons tend to be tricky buggers, and can remain for long, long hours after the storms’ centers have long since passed the island.

Kadena Air Base’s Facebook page reports that emergency responders have been dispatched to care for folks injured because they went outside during Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E (emergency).

Aside from U.S. Forces Japan instructions prohibiting people from venturing outdoors during TCCOR 1-E, it’s simply not a smart thing to do. Lives get put in danger, those who venture outside and emergency responders who have to come help. Disciplinary action could follow for those who violate the rules. Stay inside and be safe.

Areas on base that are currently without power:

  • Plaza Housing, Chibana Housing
  • Sebille Manor B 5335
  • Camp Foster Tower B377
  • Arnold Terrace Housing
  • Washington Heights Housing
  • Voice of America Housing
  • Camp  Courtney B4513, B4563A and B4506 and Navy Lodging.

Sasebo Naval Base remains in TCCOR 2 and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in TCCOR 3.
 



7 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E (emergency); appears as if the back side of Typhoon Neoguri will take a while to clear the island. Sasebo Naval Base is in TCCOR 2 and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in TCCOR 3.

Neoguri continues tracking north at 17 mph and has made its closest point of approach to Okinawa, 123 miles west at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Just a question of how quickly the back end of Neoguri takes to move out.

Next comes a sharp right turn, sharper than previously forecast. Landfall should come around 6 a.m. Thursday over southwestern Kyushu, about 59 miles southeast of Sasebo, packing 86-mph sustained winds and 104-mph gusts at its center. The base should get between 52- and 63-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at Neoguri’s closest point of approach.

Iwakuni should be ever further out of harm’s way; Neoguri should pass 92 miles southeast, and the base should get sustained 30-mph winds and gusts between 46 and 52 mph.

It appears Neoguri will venture much closer to the Kanto Plain – almost right over U.S. bases there. It will be a brief visit, although Neoguri will still be packing significant tropical-storm winds, 52-mph sustained and 63-mph gusts as it roars past and into the western Pacific Ocean.

Latest wind timeline when it becomes available.
 



6 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: Sasebo Naval Base expects to set Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1 at 6 a.m. Wednesday. All non-essential services will be shut down Wednesday and will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday, according to CFAS’ Facebook page. Main base gate will be closed; back gate will remain open.

Things worsen in terms of damage and injury on Okinawa, even though it appears Typhoon Neoguri has made its closest point of approach. Ten people hurt, including one man serious injured in Urasoe. The other injuries were minor, according to Okinawa’s crisis management office.

Evacuation advisories were issued to 246,000 homes and 593,000 residents, including the entire populations of Chatan, Kitanakagusuku and Kadena, communities where most off-base military and civilians are located. A total of 96,700 homes remain without power, including 95,300 on Okinawa main island.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni has entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible within 48 hours.
 



3 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: Thousands are without power and hundreds have been evacuated as Typhoon Neoguri continues its assault on Okinawa, the prefecture’s disaster prevention and crisis management division said in a release early Tuesday afternoon.

An evacuation advisory has been issued to 228,000 households affecting 551,000 people. Thus far, 725 people in 31 cities and towns have been evacuated, some voluntarily.

Four people have been injured, none seriously, and 68,500 households are without power, 67,200 on Okinawa’s main island, 1,200 on Miyako and 100 on Yaeyama.
 



12:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: Okinawa is feeling a segment of the brunt of Typhoon Neoguri’s east quadrants as it passes the noon hour on Tuesday. Much rain and wind, but it could have been far worse than what Okinawa is getting at this point. U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E (emergency). Actual winds of 58 mph or greater are occurring.

Neoguri remains on track to pass about 113 miles west of Okinawa at 4 p.m. Tuesday, still packing 127-mph sustained winds and 155-mph gusts at its center. Still a significant Category 3-equivalent storm. Through 12:30 p.m., the highest winds on Okinawa as a whole have been 67-mph sustained and 107-mph gusts, toward the west end of the island. At Kadena, the strongest winds have been 64-mph sustained and 90-mph gusts.

If Neoguri remains on forecast track, peak winds at Kadena will be 69-mph sustained and 92-mph gusts at about 4 p.m. Some 5 to 7 inches of rain is also expected.

Sustained 58-mph winds are forecast to continue until 8 p.m., and sustained 40-mph winds until 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Naha International Airport is closed all day Tuesday, and some airlines suggest that early morning Wednesday flights may be canceled or delayed due to backlogs and aircraft arrangement. Japan Air Lines and its affiliates report that 145 flights have been canceled, affecting 13,416 passengers. All Nippon Airways canceled 110 flights, stranding 14,000-plus passengers. Solaseed air grounded all 12 of its flights in and out of Okinawa, with 830 passengers affected.

As of 7:10 a.m. according to the Okinawa prefecture’s crisis management office, nearly 100,000 residents were advised to evacuate their homes, 442 evacuated voluntarily, power was out to 6,500 homes and 13 roads and/or bridges were closed.

Neoguri should next start bending east toward Kyushu, passing 52 miles southeast of Sasebo Naval Base at 7 a.m. Thursday, a bit later than previously forecast. Sasebo expects to enter TCCOR 1 at 6 a.m. Wednesday, according to Fleet Activities Sasebo’s Facebook page. Sasebo remains in TCCOR 3 for the moment.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni remains in TCCOR 4 and will see Neoguri pass 59 miles southeast at 3 p.m. Thursday. Sustained 30-mph winds and gusts between 46 and 52 mph are forecast.

Latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast says Neoguri will not return over water to the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and instead will make its way over land toward the Kanto Plain around 10 a.m. Friday. The visit should be brief, although Neoguri is still expected to pack 52-mph sustained winds and 63-mph gusts as it makes it way through and dies out over the western Pacific Ocean.

Check with your installation’s official Facebook page for closures and anticipated resumption of base services.
 



8 a.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E. Actual winds of 58 mph or greater are occurring. All outside activity is prohibited.
 



7:35 a.m. Tuesday, July 8, Japan time: Far better news all the way around.

Neoguri was downgraded to typhoon status after sharply decreasing in strength overnight, and the latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track takes it much further west than previously projected, 117 miles west of Okinawa at 5 p.m. Tuesday. And it has picked up forward speed, and should pass Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni earlier than previously anticipated.

It will still be a significant Category 3-equivalent storm, packing sustained 127-mph winds and 155-mph gusts at its center. And U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C (caution) and will likely upgrade to TCCOR 1-E (emergency) by 9 a.m.

But wind projections for Okinawa have changed significantly. Here’s the latest wind forecast timeline from Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight:

  • Onset of 58-mph sustained winds, 9 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 75-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts for Okinawa, 3 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 63-mph sustained winds and 75-mph gusts for Kadena, 5 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 58 mph sustained, 7 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 40 mph sustained, 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Better news. Not great, but better. Neoguri could have been far worse for Okinawa.

Sasebo remains in TCCOR 3 and Iwakuni in TCCOR 4; expect upgrades later today.

Neoguri should pass a bit closer to Sasebo, about 38 miles southeast, but around 9 a.m. Wednesday, far earlier than expected. It should still be a fairly strong Category 1-equivalent storm, 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts as it makes landfall over southwestern Kyushu.

Interaction with land and an increasingly unfavorable upper environment will cause Neoguri to begin shearing apart, after which it will be downgraded to a tropical storm, then convert into an extratropical low.

It will and speed up as it makes its way over Japan. Iwakuni should see Neoguri pass 37 miles southeast at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Neoguri will next speed past U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain, the closest being Yokota Air Base 78 miles northwest at 11 a.m. Thursday, then 100 miles southeast of Misawa Air Base at 10 p.m. Thursday before dying out over the Pacific Ocean south of Hokkaido.

Iwakuni should experience 29-mph sustained winds and gusts between 46 and 58 mph as Neoguri passes, according to MCAS Iwakuni’s Facebook page.
 



Midnight July 7, Japan time: Okinawa has entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C (caution). Actual winds between 40 and 56 mph are occurring. Time to get inside, hunker down and wait for season TCCOR 4 to be re-issued on Wednesday.
 



8 p.m. Monday, July 7, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater anticipated within 12 hours. Expect upgrade to TCCOR 1-C (caution) around 2 a.m. Tuesday.
 



7 p.m. Monday, July 7, Japan time: Just a couple of minor adjustments to Okinawa’s wind forecast timeline.

And a slight clarification here: Maximum sustained 75-mph winds and 115-mph gusts are forecast for 4 p.m. Tuesday, instead of 3 p.m., on Okinawa as a whole, and most likely the west portions of the island closer to Super Typhoon Neoguri.

Maximum winds forecast for Kadena Air Base are 69-mph sustained and 81-mph gusts at 4 p.m. The further north and east you are, slightly slower winds are in the cards, officials at Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight said.

Preparations should be done. Commissaries and Exchanges should be closed Tuesday. Time for the video or board games and other pastimes to while away the hours until Neoguri’s gone.

Slight adjustments to closest points of approach for Sasebo Naval Base (64 miles southeast at 9 p.m. Wednesday), Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni (22 miles southeast at 4 a.m. Thursday) and Misawa Air Base (52 miles northwest at 10 a.m. Friday). Wind values remain the same.
 



2:45 p.m. Monday, July 7, Japan time: Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni has entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible within 72 hours.

On Okinawa, it’s happening. Super Typhoon Neoguri has begun it’s awaited curve north and is now on track to brush just west of Okinawa, with gusts up to 115 mph in the cards for Tuesday afternoon and Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni possibly in the crosshairs.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s latest forecast shows Typhoon Neoguri some 420 miles south of Kadena Air Base, rumbling northwest at 12½ mph, having slowed a bit, but still moving quickly for a storm that size. Neoguri is packing Category 4-equivalent 155-mph sustained winds and 190-mph gusts at its center. It should peak at 167 and 201 as it passes Okinawa 85 miles west at 7 p.m.

Here’s the latest wind forecast timeline from Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight:

  • Onset of 40-mph sustained winds, 2 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Onset of 58-mph sustained winds, 8 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 75-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts, 3 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 58 mph, 1 a.m. Wednesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 40 mph, 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Here’s the initial TCCOR projection and wind forecast timeline for Sasebo, from Fleet Activities Sasebo commanding officer Capt. Chip Rock via CFAS’ Facebook page:

  • TCCOR 2 expected at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
  • TCCOR 1 expected at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
  • TCCOR 1-E (emergency) expected at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Sustained southeasterly 35- to 40-mph winds with 52-mph gusts, 3 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Sustained southeasterly 40- to 46-mph winds with 58-mph gusts, 6 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Sustained northeasterly 46- to 58-mph winds with 81-mph gusts, 9 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Sustained northeasterly 52- to 63-mph winds with 86-mph gusts, midnight Wednesday.
  • Sustained northerly 46- to 52-mph winds with 81-mph gusts, 3 a.m. Thursday.
  • Sustained northwesterly 40- to 46-mph winds with 58-mph gusts, 6 a.m. Thursday.

Should Neoguri remain on its current track, it should next pound ashore over Kyushu 60 miles southeast of Sasebo at 11 p.m. Wednesday, still packing 115-mph sustained winds and 138-mph gusts. Iwakuni will see Neoguri rumble 13 miles northwest at 8 a.m. Thursday, still packing 98-mph sustained winds and 121-mph gusts.

It will skim Japan’s west coast and convert to an extratropical cyclone, but will still carry a significant punch as it rolls 35 miles northwest of Misawa Air Base around 11 a.m. Friday, 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts.

Time for preparation on Okinawa is nearing an end. By now, everybody should have supplied, gassed and ATMed up and moved outdoor gear inside.

A tip for folks with trampolines: Turning them upside down isn’t good enough. In high enough winds, a trampoline can still be lifted off the ground and tossed into the air; PST won’t soon forget seeing a photo on Facebook of a trampoline lodged into a power transformer, which needless to say knocked out power to that particular area. Dismantle the trampoline and bring it inside.

Okinawa remains in TCCOR 2 and Sasebo in TCCOR 3.

Get your safe on, all.
 



9:45 a.m. Monday, July 7, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa are now in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are anticipated within 24 hours. Sasebo Naval Base has entered TCCOR 3. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater possible within 48 hours.

Neoguri was upgraded to super-typhoon status, having strengthened to 150-mph sustained winds and 184-mph gusts at its center. At 6 a.m., Neoguri was 476 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and tracking northwest at 16 mph. Still relatively fast for a storm of that strength and size.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center's latest update has Neoguri rolling 85 miles west of Kadena at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The worst should hit around 5 p.m., 75-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts.

Here's the latest wind forecast timeline from Kadena's 18th Wing Weather Flight:

  • Onset of sustained 40-mph winds, 2 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Onset of sustained 58-mph winds, 7 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 75-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts, 5 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 58 mph, 11 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 40 mph, 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Between 7 to 9 inches of rain are expected on Okinawa, starting at 8 p.m. Monday.

Neoguri is forecast to peak at 167-mph sustained winds and 201-mph gusts at its center as it passes Okinawa 85 miles west at 3 p.m. Tuesday. It will remain a Category 3-equivalent storm as it approaches Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. Landfall over Kyushu is forecast for around 11 p.m. Wednesday and Neoguri will barrel over Kyushu and southwestern Honshu before heading over the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
 



8 p.m. Sunday, July 6, Japan time: At last, some better news regarding Typhoon Neoguri, its forecast proximity Tuesday to Okinawa and how strong winds it can expect and when.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center's latest update has Neoguri passing Okinawa 50 miles west of Kadena Air Base at 3 p.m. Tuesday, still packing those Category 5-equivalent winds at center, 161-mph sustained and 196-mph gusts.

But Neoguri continues on a west-northwest track and hasn't yet begun to curve toward Okinawa as projected earlier. JTWC says that should continue for the better part of Monday. The question then is how sharply Neoguri curves northward; will it be a sharp curve putting Okinawa back in the crosshairs, or will it be a wide and gradual curve, taking it even further away from the island? Or somewhere in between?

For right now, Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing Weather Flight has the base experiencing maximum 121-mph sustained winds and 150-mph gusts at around 2 p.m. Tuesday. And the period of 58-mph sustained winds has been shortened from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., a span of 11 hours, four hours less than previous projections.

Neoguri remains a fast mover. At 3 p.m. Sunday, it was 600 miles south-southeast of Okinawa and moving west-northwest at 17 mph.

Here's the latest wind forecast timeline from the Kadena weather flight:

  • Onset of sustained 40-mph winds, 11 p.m. Monday.
  • Onset of sustained 58-mph winds, 9 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 121-mph sustained winds and 150-mph gusts, 2 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 58 mph, 8 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 40 mph, 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni are far from out of the woods. Neoguri is forecast to make landfall over Kyushu around 6 p.m. Wednesday, 64 miles southeast, still packing 132-mph sustained winds and 161-mph gusts. Iwakuni sees Neoguri passing 12 miles northwest, still with sustained 98-mph winds and 115-mph gusts before it heads back out over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and transitions into an extratropical low.

Here's a tip, especially for newcomers to Okinawa: When Kadena's 18th Wing commanding officer Brig. Gen. James Hecker issues Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery) and TCCOR SW (storm watch), that is not an indicator that it's safe to go outside. Winds of 58 mph are no longer occurring, but the storm is still close by and only emergency-essential personnel should be out and about, looking for flooding, downed power lines and trees and other forms of damage. Wait until the return to seasonal TCCOR 4. Then it's safe to go out again.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in TCCOR 3 and Sasebo in TCCOR 4. Expect an upgrade on Okinawa to TCCOR 2 about mid-morning Monday.
 



5:45 p.m. Sunday, July 6, Japan time:The news is a bit better for Okinawa – but not much – than  previously posted.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s latest forecast shows Typhoon Neoguri still tracking west-northwest, about 600 miles south-southeast of Okinawa, and now projected to pass about 50 miles west of Kadena Air Base about 3 p.m. Tuesday.

It will still be a screaming meany, packing Category 5-equivalent winds, 161-mph sustained and 196-mph gusts at its center.

But the track has varied west by 20 miles since our last update. That said, remain vigilant, finish preparing for the worst and keep your eyes on your unit’s Facebook page and commanders’ access channels.

An update to the wind timeline will be provided when it becomes available from Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight.
 



1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 6, Japan time: Sasebo Naval Base set Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 in advance of the expected arrival of Typhoon Neoguri late Wednesday or early Thursday, the base reported on its Facebook page this morning.

Neoguri is forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to pass the southwestern Kyushu base 63 miles southeast at around 11 p.m. Wednesday, still packing a significant Category 2-equivalent punch, 104-mph sustained winds and 127-mph gusts as it crashes ashore over Kyushu.

No change to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni’s TCCOR, but the southwestern Honshu base is forecast to receive Neoguri 12 miles northwest at 8 a.m. Thursday. And Neoguri will still be a strong Category 1-equivalent storm, 92-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts.

It’s a fast-moving storm, so it should be out of the Kyushu-Sanyo area in relatively short order before heading over the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

As for Okinawa, which remains in TCCOR 3, JTWC has Neoguri intensifying into a super typhoon early Monday morning and reaching its peak strength, 161-mph sustained winds and 196-mph gusts, just as Neoguri approaches Okinawa. Again, that’s equal to a Katrina-strength Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. If those wind speeds hold, this would be the strongest typhoon to hit Okinawa since Bart in late September 1999.

Though Neoguri is taking a more west-northwest track than previous forecasts indicated, it will still make a broad, wide curve and buzz Okinawa some 30 miles to its west with the inner portions of the more dangerous east quadrants. Maximum 155-mph sustained winds and 190-mph gusts are forecast for mid-day by Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight. No indication of any variation in Neoguri’s track other than maybe a couple of miles, a weather flight official said.

Here’s the latest wind forecast timeline from the Kadena weather flight:

  • 40-mph sustained winds, from 9 p.m. Monday.
  • 58-mph sustained winds, from 7 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 155-mph sustained winds and 190-mph gusts, 3 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 58 mph, from 9 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 40 mph, from 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Again, the only good news is that Neoguri is a fast-moving storm; at 9 a.m. Sunday, it was 670 miles south-southeast of Kadena and rumbling west-northwest at 18½ mph over the previous six hours. That is relatively quick, given Neoguri’s breadth and footprint.

Good to see folks heading to the commissary and Exchange early; now is the time to finish all the storm preparation. Better to be safe and have too many supplies than be sorry and not have enough.

A very important tip especially for newcomers: There’s a very good chance Neoguri’s “eye,” currently 40 miles across, will pass over the island. Don’t be fooled into thinking the storm’s over and it’s safe to go outside. In fact, until the All-Clear/revert to seasonal TCCOR-4 is announced, that time and any time are the worst times to be outside. Yes, the sun will be sunny and calm will resume its sway. Then, out of the blue, the back side of the storm will hit, and most times with winds more vicious than before.




8 a.m. Sunday, July 6, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible within 48 hours.

Latest from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center shows Typhoon Neoguri tracking slightly further west of Okinawa than previous forecasts. That could actually be bad news for the island, as that would mean it might receive the inner portions of the east quadrants, typically the more dangerous of the four, longer than if Neoguri passed directly over the island.

For now, it looks as if the worst will occur Tuesday afternoon. Category 5-equivalent winds are still in the cards for Okinawa, 165-mph sustained winds and 190-mph gusts at about noon. Neoguri's closest point of approach is 29 miles west of Kadena Air Base at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Latest wind forecast timeline from Kadena's 18th Wing Weather Flight:

  • Sustained 40-mph winds, from 11 p.m. Monday.
  • Sustained 58-mph winds, from 5 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 155-mph winds and 190-mph gusts, noon Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 58 mph, from 8 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 40 mph, from 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The only good news is that Neoguri continues to be a fast-moving storm, meaning that while the maximum forecast winds remain ferocious, they come and go relatively quickly, inside 15 hours if current forecasts hold. At 6 a.m. Sunday, Neoguri was lurking some 760 miles southeast of Okinawa, rumbling west-northwest at 16 mph. Relatively quick for such a big storm.

Neoguri's forecast track takes it 52 miles southeast of Sasebo Naval Base at 10 p.m. Wednesday and almost directly over Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni at 8 a.m. Thursday before skimming Japan's west coast, still as a powerful Category 1-equivalent storm. Neoguri should make landfall over Kyushu late Wednesday, packing 115-mph sustained winds and 138-mph gusts as it roars by Sasebo.

Preparation and good communication. Keys to survival. Stay alert and get your safe on.
 



7:45 p.m. Saturday, July 5, Japan time: For Okinawa, Tuesday’s weather picture is, indeed, a grim one. Typhoon Neoguri continues bearing down on the island, and if it stays on current forecast track, will pound U.S. bases as a super typhoon come Tuesday afternoon.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center has Neoguri intensifying into a super typhoon at mid-morning Sunday, about a day before it begins a wide and gradual bend north toward Okinawa, packing sustained 167-mph sustained winds and 201-mph gusts at its center. That’s equal to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. If those wind speeds hold, this would be the strongest typhoon to hit Okinawa since Bart in late September 1999.

Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight’s extended forecast projects 58-mph sustained winds starting around 8 a.m. and lasting until 10 p.m. Tuesday. Peak winds are forecast to be the aforementioned 167-mph sustained and 201-mph gusts at 3 p.m. Nine to 11 inches of rain is also expected.

Here’s the wind forecast timeline from the Kadena weather flight:

  • 40-mph sustained winds, from 2 a.m. Tuesday.
  • 58-mph sustained winds, from 8 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Maximum 167-mph sustained winds and 201-mph gusts, 3 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 58 mph, from 10 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Winds diminishing below 40 mph, from 5 a.m. Wednesday.

If there’s any sort of silver lining to this, Neoguri is a fast-moving storm, so it should be in and out of the Okinawa area relatively quickly, in about a day’s time.

But Sasebo Naval Base on Kyushu and Marine Corps Station Iwakuni in southwestern Honshu are far from out of the woods.

JTWC projects Neoguri to make landfall around 6 p.m. Wednesday, still packing a significant wallop, 138-mph sustained winds and 167-mph gusts as it crashes ashore, 35 miles southeast of Sasebo around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Iwakuni is next, and though it’s shielded well by mountains, it will likely take a direct hit around 9 a.m. Thursday, with Neoguri still packing 104-mph sustained winds and 127-mph gusts, assuming it doesn’t begin shearing apart due to land interaction.

Especially with winds that ferocious in the forecast, the time to prepare has already come. Now that the July 4th celebration has ended, haul in the lawn chairs and tables, dismantle the trampoline, bring the bicycles inside and store the Hibachi somewhere safe. The commissaries have been quite active; there’s been some talk of extended hours in the run-up to the storm, so take advantage. Enough water, non-perishable food, diapers, pet food, flashlight, portable radio and batteries to last three days. Visit the gasoline stand and fill up the tank and get enough cash out of the ATM to last you three days, and do this no later than Monday. Dust off the board games to give the kiddles something to do during lockdown.

Communication is also key. Again, listen only to official channels. Avoid the rumors. Avoid the “Well, I heard …” crowd. Follow your command’s access channels and Facebook pages. And when the inevitable TCCOR 1-E lockdown occurs, avoid any and all temptation to venture outside in the storm. Off base or on. Just because the Japanese are out and about making their appointed rounds, keep in mind, they’re used to it. They’ve lived with it all their lives. Americans, particularly newcomers, have not.

Sasebo and Iwakuni remain all clear, while Okinawa remains in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4; expect that to change sometime early Sunday morning.
 



11:15 a.m. Saturday, July 5, Japan time: Neoguri could rival Bart as the worst typhoon to hit Okinawa in the past 15 years.

The latest from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Typhoon Neoguri to strengthen into a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon, peaking at 161-mph sustained winds and 196-mph gusts around 9 a.m. Tuesday, seven hours before its forecast closest point of approach to Okinawa, seven miles west of Kadena Air Base.

Kadena's 18th Wing Weather Flight's extended forecast calls for 40- to 58-mph sustained winds Tuesday morning, increasing to 75 to 95 mph in the afternoon and evening, with 4 to 6 inches of rain.

Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Kyushu is next, with 92-mph sustained winds and 115-mph gusts forecast as Neoguri passes 16 miles west of Sasebo. The west track is bad news for Sasebo, because its harbor is exposed to storms that pass west of the base; if Neoguri goes east, the base would be shielded by mountains to the north and east.

This is no joke, folks. Unless some things change, this could be the worst ride either base has experienced in a long, long time. Now is the time to prepare. Clean up around your office and home and visit the commissary and PX now, before the long lines commence. Enough water and non-perishable food to last three days. Flashlight and portable radio with batteries. Diapers for the newborns. Food for your furry friends. Plan to visit the ATM and gasoline stands on Sunday, Monday at the latest on Okinawa; power outages could render them useless for three days, possibly more.

U.S. bases on Okinawa and Japan remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4, for now.
 



9 a.m. Saturday, July 5, Japan time: Neoguri intensified into a typhoon overnight Friday, and the latest forecast calls for near-direct hits on Okinawa on Tuesday afternoon and Sasebo Naval Base on Wednesday evening. And this storm figures to be a big beast.

If it continues on its Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track, Neoguri should rumble a mere 22 miles east of Kadena at 4 p.m. Tuesday, then just 28 miles east of Sasebo, in southwestern Japan, around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

A good upper-level environment, high ocean heat content and warm sea surface temperatures favor rapid development into a vicious monster forecast by the JTWC to peak at 150-mph sustained winds and 184-mph gusts around 3 a.m. Tuesday, just before it reaches Okinawa.

Kadena Air Base's extended forecast calls for 40- to 58-mph winds Tuesday morning, increasing to 75- to 95-mph winds in the afternoon and evening, and 4 to 6 inches of rain possible.

Sasebo is next, and it's looking at possible 104-mph sustained winds and 127-mph gusts at Neoguri's center as it passes just to its east. Even Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni could feel some of the effects; Neoguri will pass about 95 miles to its west.

U.S. bases on Okinawa and Japan remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4, for now.
 



Midnight Friday, July 4, Japan time: Tropical Storm Neoguri's forecast track continues edging closer, ever closer, to a direct hit on Okinawa on Tuesday afternoon, followed by a close shave for Sasebo Naval Base on Wednesday evening.
 
Neoguri at 9 p.m. Friday was 1,200 miles southeast of Kadena Air Base, rumbling west-northwest at 16 mph. If it continues on its Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast track, Neoguri should pass 53 miles east of Kadena at 3 p.m. Tuesday, then 58 miles east of Sasebo, in southwestern Japan, around 9 p.m. Wednesday.
 
 As Neoguri continues heading through areas of very favorable development in the warm northwestern Pacific Ocean basin, it's forecast to peak as a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon by 9 p.m. Monday, 150-mph sustained winds and 184-mph gusts.
 
 It should diminish slightly, but still pack a very significant punch: 144-mph sustained winds and 176-mph gusts at its center as it rolls past Okinawa. And it won't weaken that much as it reaches the southwest coast of Kyushu and makes landfall; JTWC projects 110-mph sustained winds and 132-mph gusts as Neoguri churns past Sasebo to its east.
 
 If there's any silver lining to this, while dynamic model guidance is in agreement, there is a spread of 155 miles in Neoguri's projected path come Monday and 167 miles come Tuesday. That could mean Neoguri could track west of Okinawa, directly over the island or perhaps east. Bear in mind, Neoguri is still in its relative infancy, just a day and a half old, and storms that young can be tough to predict.
 
 U.S. bases on Guam and Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 for now; that could change for Okinawa as early as Sunday morning and for Sasebo Monday morning.
 



6:30 p.m. Friday, July 4, Japan time: Some change to our previous updates. Tropical Storm Neoguri has become a named storm, and is swirling its way northwest of Guam. Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Neoguri – Korean for raccoon – to strengthen into a Category 1-equivalent typhoon sometime early Saturday morning.

Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight said if a recommendation comes for an upgrade to Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness, it would be sometime Saturday morning. As is always the case, the 18th Wing commanding officer, Brig. Gen. James Hecker, speaks in one voice for all U.S. bases on Okinawa regarding accelerated TCCORs. For the moment, U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal TCCOR 4, which it does from June 1-Nov. 30 because the island is so close to areas where tropical cyclones develop.

And developing this one is. It’s moving northwest at 15 mph over areas very conducive to tropical cyclone intensification.

Closest point of approach to Okinawa is now forecast for 83 miles east at high noon Tuesday, at which time it will be packing sustained 132-mph winds and 161-mph gusts at its center, equal to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, something which became a household name thanks to Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans lo’ those nine years ago.

Weather flight officials said northeast parts of Okinawa can expect 58-mph sustained winds and greater. Kadena and other southwest bases will likely see 46- to 52-mph sustained winds and 63- to 69-mph gusts, along with 4 to 6 inches of rain. That on top of the two-month-long rainy season, which has Okinawa’s 11 dams and reservoirs at almost full capacity.

Sasebo Naval Base could be next on Neoguri’s itinerary; it’s forecast to make landfall over Kyushu and pass 67 miles east of Sasebo around 3 p.m. Wednesday, packing sustained 110-mph winds and 132-mph gusts. Sasebo is shielded somewhat from tropical cyclones that pass to its east, but if the track veers more to the west, that could spell trouble for the base, as the harbor would be exposed to the storm’s eastern quadrants and winds coming from the south, southwest and southeast.

Especially for folks new to Okinawa and Sasebo: These storms are no joke. They cause serious damage, injury and death. Being prepared, staying alert, listening to official channels – and avoiding the “Well, I heard” rumor mill – are important in surviving these buggers. Especially in this world of social media, many times false trails are laid and are taken at face value because “it’s on the Internet; it has to be true, right?”

And especially when TCCOR 1, 1-C and 1-E are issued, STAY INSIDE. You gain nothing from venturing out in winds exceeding 58 mph. Aside from U.S. Forces Japan instruction mandating that people stay indoors during tropical cyclones, it’s also the wise choice, because you only get one chance.
 



11:45 a.m. Friday, July 4, Japan time: It gets worse with each passing update; 08W was upgraded to tropical storm status overnight Thursday, has made its closest approach to Guam and is now moving northwest at 15 mph, with a rendezvous with Okinawa on Tuesday quite possible.

The good news is, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s latest forecast has 08W tracking a bit further east of Okinawa than previous projections, about 130 miles east at 5 a.m. Tuesday. That’s a variance of almost 30 miles east from PST’s last update.

The bad news is, 08W is also in a very favorable environment for development, specifically very warm seas, which nourishes tropical cyclones like a good, hot meal. 08W is forecast to reach peak intensity as it passes Okinawa, estimated 144-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts at its center. That’s equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

As of Friday morning, Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight was projecting sustained 46- to 52-mph winds and gusts between 63 and 69 mph Tuesday morning as 08W passes east of the island.

There’s every chance that 08W could drift closer to Okinawa. The weather may look nice for the moment, but the time to start preparing for the storm is now. Begin a general cleanup around the house or apartment and plan a visit to the commissary, ATM and gasoline stand within the next day or so. Storms that strong are no joke. Preparation and communication are keys.
 



1:15 a.m. Friday, July 4, Guam time: America's Independence Day will feature some fireworks of a different and unwanted sort, as Tropical Depression 08W is forecast to rumble just west of Guam, the island "where America's day begins," with sustained winds between 20 and 30 mph and 40-mph gusts along with heavy rain and isolated thundershowers Friday and Saturday.

Closest points of approach according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center are 193 miles southwest of Andersen Air Force Base and 170 miles southwest of Naval Station at 4 a.m. Friday. Weather should start improving Sunday or Monday. A small-craft warning remains in effect until 4 p.m. Sunday.

Little change with respect to Okinawa, which will see 08W pass 102 miles east of the island around 9 a.m. Tuesday, packing sustained 115-mph winds and 140-mph gusts at its center. If it remains on its forecast track, 08W would graze Okinawa with its western quadrants, typically the less vicious of the four. The dynamic model guidance is still all over the lot, so things could change.

However, if 08W does remain on its forecast track, Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Japan could find itself in the storm's crosshairs later Tuesday or early Wednesday. Again, way too early to tell.

U.S. bases on Guam and Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 for now; that could change for Okinawa as early as Sunday morning.
 



6:45 p.m. Thursday, July 3, Guam time: Guam appears as if it should be out of harm’s way regarding Tropical Depression 08W. It’s forecast to track 217 miles southwest of Andersen Air Force Base at about 6 a.m. Friday. A small-craft advisory is in effect until 4 p.m. Sunday, with sustained winds between 25 and 38 mph forecast by the National Weather Service on Guam.

But the news for Okinawa is worse than earlier forecast. TD 08W’s projected path has varied nearly 200 miles west since the first update on this storm; 08W is now forecast to cut 102 miles east of Kadena Air Base at 10 a.m. Tuesday, packing sustained 110-mph winds and 132-mph gusts at its center.

Still early in the life of the storm, so much could still change. Stay tuned to PST for further updates.
 



4:45 p.m. Guam time, Wednesday, July 2: Storm Tracker is keeping an eyeball on two tropical disturbances, one near Palau, the other southeast of Guam. Too early to say definitively what one or the other or both might do. However, special weather statement issued by the National Weather Service on Guam at mid-day Wednesday said the disturbance some 400 miles southeast of Guam is expected to head northwest between Guam and Yap in the coming days. Heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms forecast for Guam over the next few days, with improving conditions expected by Sunday or Monday. Flooding possible in low-lying areas. PST will keep an eye on things.
 

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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.