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Tropical Storm 18W (Tapah), # 28: Chinhae all clear FINAL

U.S. NAVY

By DAVE ORNAUER | Stars and Stripes | Published: September 18, 2019

9:15 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, Japan time: Fleet Activities Chinhae has directed Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness All Clear at 8:30 a.m. local time.

Tropical Storm Tapah has pretty much lost all tropical characteristics and has transitioned into what's called a cold-core or extra-tropical low.

It is still packing some serious winds, and is forecast to pass 56 miles northwest of Misawa Air Base at 10 p.m.-ish Monday, with forecast gale-force 58-mph susstained winds and 75-mph gusts.

Misawa Air Base's official Facebook page warned residents to expect gusts and showers from Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon, peaking at 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts and up to 3 inches of rain.

From there, it's on to Hokkaido on Tuesday and into the northern Pacific Ocean, where it's forecast to dissipate later in the week.


1:05 a.m. Monday, Sept. 23, Japan time: Fleet Activities Sasebo has directed Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness all clear at 1:05 a.m.


11:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Japan/Korea time: Closest points of approach by Tropical Storm Tapah to Chinhae Naval Base (89 miles southeast at 10 p.m.) and Sasebo Naval Base (50 miles northwest at 7 p.m.) have come and gone.

Sasebo remains in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery) while first responders and staff civil continue to make safety checks. Chinhae remains in TCCOR 1. Expect a return to all clear once Tapah moves well out of the area and winds have completely died down.

Now, it's on to northeast Japan, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Tapah is losing its tropical characteristics and is forecast to pass 75 miles northwest of Misawa Air Base at 10 p.m. Monday as a cold-core low with gale-force winds.


10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Japan time: Fleet Activities Sasebo has directed Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery). Destructive 58-mph winds are no longer occurring. Peak wind gust was 73 mph at 6:26 p.m., according to Sasebo's weather site.

REMAIN INDOORS! Wait to go outside until first responders and staff civil have had a chance to make safety checks and establish safe zones around downed trees and power lines, flooding and damaged buildings. Wait for the all clear to go out.

At last check, Chinhae Naval Base remains in TCCOR 1, as it has since about 7 p.m. Saturday. Will post when both bases go all clear.


5:50 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Japan time: Fleet Activities Sasebo has entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E (emergency). Actual 58-mph winds are occurring on station. All outdoor activity is prohibited.


5:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Japan/Korea time: Looks like Chinhae Naval Base might buy something of a break,  while Tropical Storm Tapah could be a bit rougher on Sasebo Naval Base than previously reported.

At 3 p.m., Tapah was 108 miles west-southwest of Sasebo and had picked up forward speed, moving northeast at 25 mph, still holding steady at 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts at center. The faster it moves, the less time it would spend near U.S. facilities in southwest Japan and southeastern Korea.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Tapah to pass 82 miles southeast of Chinhae, about 20 miles further than previously forecast, at about 9 p.m., and 58 miles northwest of Sasebo, 10 miles closer than previously reported, at about 7 p.m.

This means Sasebo might be further inside Tapah's JTWC-forecast 50-knot (58-mph) windband, and Chinhae just outside of it. Sasebo remains in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C and Chinhae in TCCOR 1.

Expect upgrades to TCCORs in both locales should winds reach or exceed 50 knots, or 58 mph.


3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Japan time: Fleet Activities Sasebo has directed Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C (caution). Actual 35-knot or 40-mph winds are occurring on station. Time to get indoors and hunker down until Tropical Storm Tapah has passed.


12:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Japan/Korea time: Tropical Storm Tapah continues its headlong push toward the Tsushima Strait, weakening slightly as it approaches Chinhae and Sasebo naval bases for a Sunday overnight visit.

At 9 a.m., Tapah was 242 miles southwest of Sasebo, headed north-northeast at 16 mph and had diminished a little, down to 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts. Sasebo and Chinhae each remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1.

If Tapah stays on its present heading, it's forecast to split the difference between Sasebo (68 miles northwest) and Chinhae (62 miles southeast) between 8 and 11 p.m. Sunday. Each base lies right at the edge of Tapah's forecast 50-knot (58-mph) windband.

And Misawa Air Base isn't out of the woods, either, bracing for Tapah to pass 110 miles northwest at 11 p.m. Monday, with 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts plus up to 3 inches of rain possibly in the cards.


9:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, Japan/Korea time: While cleanup on Okinawa continues from Tropical Storm Tapah, it's gonna be a rainy, gusty start of the week for Chinhae Naval Base and Sasebo Naval Base, as the grim weather forecast for both locales continues to state.

Both Chinhae and Sasebo are in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1. Should sustained winds in either locale reach or exceed 35 knots, or 40 mph, expect an upgrade to TCCOR 1-C; at 50 knots, or 58 mph, then TCCOR 1-E would be directed, at which point all outdoor activity would be prohibited.

At 3 a.m., Tapah was 325 miles southwest of Sasebo, churning north-northeast at 14 mph, packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at center.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Tapah to weaken slightly as it makes its way toward the Tsushima Strait later this afternoon, eventually passing 70 miles northwest of Sasebo and 67 miles southeast of Chinhae between 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday. Backside windbands should keep both locales flush in rain and gusty winds into Monday morning.

Chinhae could see 40-mph sustained winds at minimum, with gusts up to 75 mph, along with between 7 to 9 inches of rain, according to the base's official Facebook page.

Sasebo's forecast calls for:

-- A gale warning  from 1 to 11 p.m. Sunday.
-- A thunderstorm watch  from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.
-- A small-craft advisory from 9 a.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.
-- Southeasterly sustained winds between 23 and 28 mph with 40-mph gusts mid-morning Sunday, increasing to 35- to 40-mph sustained and 58-mph gusts at mid-afternoon. Shifting to the south between 46- and 52-mph sustained and 75-mph gusts late Sunday afternoon. Shifting southwesterly overnight Sunday into Monday, 23- to 28-mph sustained and 40-mph gusts.

Tapah is not forecast to reach typhoon strength, but as the folks on Okinawa can attest, it's no joke. Make sure loose objects are tied down or put away and that you're supplied up for the duration of the storm. Watch for and avoid floods and landslides off base. Get your safe on!

And U.S. bases on Okinawa reverted to seasonal TCCOR 4 just after 6 a.m. Sunday.


11:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan/Korea time: Tropical Storm Tapah is gathering steam, making its way north toward the Tsushima Strait and getting ready to unleash some of its fury in a northwest director toward Chinhae Naval Base and southeast toward Sasebo Naval Base Sunday afternoon and evening into Monday.

Chinhae remains in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1 and Sasebo remains in TCCOR 2. Expect upgrades to those as Tapah approaches. Both bases appear to be well within Tapah’s forecast 50-knot (58-mph) wind bands, though Tapah is forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to be through and out of the area rather quickly.

JTWC projects Tapah to pass 91 miles northwest of Sasebo and 43 miles southeast of Chinhae between 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday.

Here’s the forecast weather timeline for Sasebo, courtesy of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanographic Command:

-- A gale warning will be in effect from 1 to 11 p.m. Sunday.
-- A thunderstorm watch will be in effect from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.
-- A small-craft advisory will be in effect from 9 a.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.
-- Southeasterly sustained winds between 23 and 28 mph with 40-mph gusts mid-morning Sunday, increasing to 35- to 40-mph sustained and 58-mph gusts at mid-afternoon. Shifting to the south between 46- and 52-mph sustained and 75-mph gusts late Sunday afternoon. Shifting southwesterly overnight Sunday into Monday, 23- to 28-mph sustained and 40-mph gusts.

Here’s the forecast weather timeline for Chinhae courtesy of AccuWeather:

-- Sustained winds of 45 mph with 75-mph gusts Sunday afternoon into evening, between 5 and 6 inches of rain.
-- Winds decreasing slightly overnight into Monday, 40-mph sustained, 68-mph gusts, up to 3 inches of rain.

All this could change, depending on Tapah’s forecast track and intensity. Be on the lookout for sudden resulting TCCOR changes as well. Most importantly: Get your safe on!


8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch. Tropical Storm Tapah is headed out of the Okinawa area, but strong winds remain in close enough proximity that Tapah continues to bear watching.

Meanwhile, Chinhae Naval Base has directed TCCOR 1. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are anticipated within 12 hours.


6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery) at 5:17 p.m. local time. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater associated with Tropical Storm Tapah are no longer occurring.

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE! This is still a hazardous time to be outdoors. First responders and staff civil must fan out, check for damage and establish safe zones around fallen trees and power lines, floods and damaged buildings. Wait for TCCOR Storm Watch or the return to seasonal TCCOR 4 before venturing outdoors.

Sustained 40-mph winds are forecast to subside about 3 a.m. Sunday, according to Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing Weather Flight.

Meanwhile, Chinhae Naval Base and Sasebo Naval Base each remain in TCCOR 2; expect upgrades to those in relatively short order as Tapah approaches from the south.

At 3 p.m., Tapah was 457 miles south-southwest of Sasebo, tracking north at 14 mph and had reached forecast peak sustained 69-mph winds and 86-mph gusts at storm's center.

Tapah's wind field is forecast to be quite vast, estimated to be about 400 miles, with the stronger winds in the eastern quadrants as it approaches the Tsushima Strait.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Tapah to pass 92 miles northwest of Sasebo and 43 miles southeast of Chinhae between 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday. Then it's off to the Sea of Japan and forecast passage 136 miles northwest of Misawa Air Base at 11 p.m. Monday.


1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan time: Fleet Activities Sasebo has directed Tropical Cyclone Condtiion of Readiness 2. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are anticipated within 24 hours.


12:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan/Korea time: Here is the latest wind-forecast timeline for U.S. bases on Okinawa from Tropical Storm Tapah.

-- Peak sustained 58-knot (67-mph) winds and 79-knot (91-mph) gusts: Already occurred, at 7:14 a.m. in Naha.
-- Sustained 50-knot (58-mph) winds subsiding: 6 p.m. Saturday.
-- Sustained 35-knot (40-mph) winds subsiding: 3 a.m. Sunday.

Note that Japanese weather and news agencies reported a wind gust of 107 mph in Nanjo City at 5:30 a.m.

Closest point of approach to Kadena Air Base has already come and gone; it was 110 miles west at 8 a.m. More than 40,000 homes on Okinawa are without power, and it could get worse before the winds die down. Some 140 flights serving Naha International Airport were canceled affecting more than 26,000 passengers.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condtiion of Readiness 1-E, while Fleet Activities Chinhae in southeastern Korea remains in TCCOR 2 and Fleet Activities Sasebo in southwestern Japan in TCCOR 3; expect the latter to be upgraded at any time.

Note, especially for newcomers to the island: When the winds die down sufficiently and TCCOR 1-R (recovery) is issued, that is NOT the time to go outside. In fact, it's probably worse than when TCCOR 1-E is in effect.

First responders and staff civil then fan out to check damage to each base and establish safe zones around fallen trees, branches and power lines, floods and damaged buildings.

And there is no set time for how long TCCOR 1-R lasts and how soon we enter TCCOR Storm Watch. It's all up to how much damage there is out there and how quickly they can move to repair or control it.

Tapah is no longer forecast to peak as a Category 1-equivalent typhoon, but just below that intensity, 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at 9 p.m. as it moves north, then curves northeast Sunday toward the Tsushima Strait.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center projects Tapah to pass 40 miles southeast of Chinhae and 93 miles northwest of Sasebo between 9 p.m. and midnight Sunday.

From there, it's on to the Sea of Japan and passage 177 miles northwest of Misawa Air Base at midnight Monday.


7:55 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Korea time: Fleet Activities Chinhae has set Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2 in advance of Tropical Storm Tapah. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are now anticipated within 24 hours.


7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan time: Here is the latest wind-forecast timeline for U.S. bases on Okinawa from Tropical Storm Tapah. U.S. bases remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E and should remain so for some time.

-- Peak 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts: 8 a.m. Saturday.
-- Sustained 58-mph winds subsiding: 3 p.m. Saturday.
-- Sustained 40-mph winds subsiding: Midnight Saturday.

Tapah is forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to make its closest point of approach 110 miles west of Kadena Air Base at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Though it remains a tropical storm, Tapah is quite the severe one and looks as if it will hang around for some time. Japanese weather and news agencies have reported wind gusts as high as 107 mph in some locations.

Once Tapah moves out of the Ryukyu and Yaeyama islands, it's forecast to peak at Category 1-equivalent strength, 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts at mid-afternoon Sunday just southeast of Korea's Cheju Island.

Chinhae Naval Base and Sasebo Naval Base remain in TCCOR 3; expect upgrades to that sometime Saturday afternoon.

JTWC projects Tapah to split the difference between Chinhae and Sasebo through the Tsushima Strait, passing 86 miles northwest of Sasebo and 44 miles southeast of Chinhae between 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday, still packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at center.

Though Tapah is forecast to pass 164 miles northwest of Misawa Air Base at 11 p.m. Monday, effects are likely to be felt at the northern Japan base from Monday afternoon into mid-day Tuesday.


3:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E (emergency). Actual sustained 58-mph winds are occurring on a U.S. base or bases. All outdoor activity is prohibited. Stay indoors until the all clear is directed.


12:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Japan time: Here is the latest wind-forecast timeline for U.S. bases on Okinawa from Tropical Storm Tapah, as provided by Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing Weather Flight.

-- Onset of 40-mph sustained winds: Occurring now.
-- Onset of destructive 58-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-E): 6 a.m. Saturday.
-- Peak 63-mph sustained winds, 75-mph gusts: 6 a.m. Sunday.
-- Sustained 58-mph winds diminishing: 3 p.m. Saturday.
-- Sustained 40-mph winds diminishing: 6 a.m. Sunday.

Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C (caution) remains set for U.S. bases on Okinawa, and TCCOR 3 for Chinhae Naval Base in southeastern Korea and Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Japan.

Tapah is forecast to pass 86 miles west of Kadena at 8 a.m. Saturday. Regarding whether Okinawa will upgrade to TCCOR 1-E, that all depends on actual sustained wind speeds meeting or exceeding 50 knots (58 mph) and when. There is no set time for it. With TCCOR 1-C still in effect, best advice is to stay indoors until the all clear is directed.


6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C (caution) due to the proximity of Tropical Storm Tapah. Actual winds of 38 mph or greater are occurring at a particular base or bases on island.

Time to get indoors and stay there. All non-essential personnel are released to their quarters. Among facilities closing are the Exchange, commissaries, shoppettes, gas stations, services facilities, clubs, restaurants, fitness centers and the post office.

Security forces and MPs will enforce an “essential vehicles only” policy on bases. For safety’s sake, keep movement around your base or your off-base residence to a minimum.

The gap between Okinawa and Tapah present earlier Friday has disappeared and we’re pretty much back to where we were this morning: Right on the edge of that 50-knot (58-mph) wind band.

At 3 p.m., Tapah was 242 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Base, headed northwest at 4 mph, packing 58-mph sustained winds and 75-mph gusts at center.

If Tapah continues on its present heading, it’s forecast to curve north, pass 128 miles west of Kadena at 11 a.m. Saturday and reach Category 1-equivalent intensity, 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts at center. Tapah’s forecast 50-knot (58-mph) reaches 138 miles southeast and 104 miles northeast of center.

Here is the latest wind-forecast timeline for U.S. bases on Okinawa from Tapah, courtesy of Kadena's 18th Wing Weather Flight:

-- Onset of 35-knot (40-mph) sustained winds: Occurring now.
-- Onset of 50-knot (58-mph) sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-E): 9 a.m. Saturday.
-- Peak 50-knot (58-mph) sustained winds and 60-knot (69-mph) gusts: 11 a.m. Saturday.
-- Sustained 50-knot (58-mph) winds subsiding: 3 p.m. Saturday.
-- Sustained 35-knot (40-mph) winds subsiding: 6 a.m. Sunday.

Once moving north and out of the Ryukyu and Yaeyama Islands, Tapah is forecast to maintain 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts as it knifes through the Tsushima Strait, passing 76 miles northwest of Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Japan and 58 miles southeast of Chinhae Naval Base in southeastern Korea between 8 and 11 p.m. Sunday. Then it’s on into the Sea of Japan, weakening gradually as it goes.

Though U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain – ravaged by Typhoon Faxai two weeks ago – appear to be out of harm’s way, Misawa Air Base might get some of Tapah’s leftovers overnight Monday into Tuesday.

Misawa’s Weather Flight projects Tapah’s visit to stretch from Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon with peak 40-mph sustained winds and 52-mph gusts forecast for 6 a.m. Tuesday with up to 3 inches of rain.


4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan/Korea time: Sasebo Naval Base and Chinhae Naval Base have each directed Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible within 48 hours.

1:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan time: Okinawa might just catch a break.

According to the latest from Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Tropical Storm Tapah is now forecast to pass 150 miles west of Kadena Air Base at noon Saturday, packing 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts.

But that’s at Tapah’s center. And … there’s a 50-something mile gap between Kadena Air Base and Tapah’s 50-knot (58-mph) wind band as a result of the forecast track edging further west than previously reported.

Thus, while Okinawa might still get some seriously high winds and sideways rain, the latest wind-forecast timeline projects Okinawa to not get sustained, destructive 50-knot (58-mph) winds. At least for now. And all this could change again with the next forecast timeline due out about 7 p.m.

Here is that latest wind-forecast timeline, courtesy of Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight:

-- Onset of 40-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-C): 6 p.m. Friday.
-- Onset of destructive 58-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-E): Not forecast at this time.
-- Peak 52-mph sustained winds and 69-mph gusts: Noon Saturday. NOTE: 60-knot (69-mph) winds could trigger TCCOR 1-E for however long those gusts endure..
-- Sustained winds diminishing below 40 mph: 9 a.m. Sunday.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1. Chinhae Naval Base in southeastern Korea and Sasebo Naval Base in Kyushu in southwestern Japan remain in TCCOR 4.

If Tapah stays on its present heading, it is forecast to peak as a Category 1-equivalent typhoon, 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts, at 9 a.m. Sunday, but long after Tapah has exited the Ryukyu and Yaeyama Islands and has begun curving northeast toward the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Kyushu.

JTWC projects Tapah to pass 85 miles northwest of Sasebo and 48 miles southeast of Chinhae between 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday, still packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts, but again, at Tapah’s center. It’s on to the Sea of Japan and Hokkaido from there before dissipating over the northern Pacific.


10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are anticipated within 12 hours.


8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are anticipated within 24 hours. Expect upgrade to TCCOR 1 sometime later Friday morning.

Here is the latest wind-forecast timeline for U.S. bases on Okinawa from Tropical Storm Tapah, courtesy of Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight:

-- Onset of 40-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-C): 6 p.m. Friday.
-- Onset of destructive 58-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-E: 11 a.m. Saturday.
-- Peak 58-mph sustained wings, 69-mph gusts: Noon Saturday.
-- Winds diminishing below destructive 58-mph sustained: 4 p.m. Saturday.
-- Winds diminishing below 40-mph sustained: 9 a.m. Sunday.


7:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan time: Far enough west that Okinawa might not feel Tropical Storm Tapah's full fury, but close enough that destructive winds remain a possibility.

That remains the narrative for Tapah. Its forecast track continues to edge a bit further west than previously reported.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center now projects Tapah to pass 144 miles west of Kadena Air Base at 11 a.m. Saturday, packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at storm's center.

That's with Tapah's forecast 50-knot (58-mph) wind band extending 92 miles northeast and 127 miles southeast of center, with Okinawa sitting right on the edge of that band.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3; expect that to be upgraded at any time. Further north, Chinhae Naval Base in southeast Korea and Sasebo Naval Base in southwest Japan each remain in TCCOR 4.

Once out of range of the Ryukyu and Yaeyama Islands and moving north, Tapah remains forecast to split the difference between Korea and Kyushu, heading through the Tsushima Strait and passing 90 miles northwest of Sasebo and 47 miles southeast of Chinhae between 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday.

For folks on Okinawa: The time to prepare is now. Make that commissary and Exchange run, get those non-perishables, water, diapers and wipes and food for the furry friends, fill up the gas tank, withdraw enough dollars and local currency to last three days, just in case the power goes off for awhile.


1:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan time: Here is the latest wind-forecast timeline for Tropical Storm Tapah for Okinawa courtesy of Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing Weather Flight.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3. Based on this timeline, expect that to be upgraded to TCCOR 2 just before mid-morning Friday. Closest point of approach to Okinawa is 129 miles west of Kadena at 8 a.m. Saturday.

-- Onset of 40-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-C): 6 p.m. Friday.
-- Onset of destructive 58-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-E): 8 a.m. Saturday.
-- Peak 58-mph sustained winds, 69-mph gusts: 9 a.m. Saturday (coincides with Tapah's forecast closest point of approach to Okinawa).
-- Winds subsiding below destructive 58-mph sustained: 3 p.m. Saturday.
-- Winds subsiding below 40-mph sustained: Noon Sunday.

Not especially high winds; Okinawa might not see Category 1-equivalent winds from Tapah. But onset of 40-mph winds to winds diminishing below 40 mph could last for a very long time, almost two days.

U.S. bases can expect up to 3 inches of rainfall associated with Tapah.


1 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, Japan time: 18W now has a name, Tapah, and just a half-day into its young life has been upgraded to a tropical storm by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

At 9 p.m., Tapah was 243 miles south of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa and had picked up forward speed, heading northwest at 9 mph, and strengthened to 46-mph sustained winds and 58-mph gusts at center.

U.S. bases in Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 and Fleet Activities Sasebo in southwesstern Japan and Fleet Activities Chinhae in southeastern Korea each in TCCOR 4.

If Tapah continues on its present heading, it's forecast to curve north and reach peak forecast intensity of 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at storm's center by mid-evening Friday.

JTWC projects Tapah's forecast track to push further west of Okinawa, passing 129 miles west of Kadena at 9 a.m. Saturday, about 20 miles further west than in our previous report. Okinawa could possibly buy a break from that. Latest wind forecast timeline will be posted when available.

Once out and away from the Ryukyu and Yaeyama Islands, Tapah is forecast to maintain intensity until it splits the difference betweeen southeastern Korea and Kyushu in southwestern Japan.

It should weaken slightly, to 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts, as it passes 86 miles northwest of Sasebo Naval Base and 44 miles southeast of Chinhae Naval Base between 6 and 10 p.m. Sunday.

For the moment, it appears as if U.S. bases on Korea's west coast and in the Tokyo area should be safe.


7:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Japan time: Here is the latest wind-forecast timeline for U.S. bases on Okinawa from Tropical Depression 18W, courtesy of Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing Weather Flight.

Yes, we can expect destructive winds of 58 mph or greater for the first time on Okinawa during the 2019 northwest Pacific tropical cyclone season, mid-morning to mid-afternoon Saturday.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3. Expect upgrade to TCCOR 2 around mid-morning Friday.

-- Onset of 40-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-C): 6 p.m Friday.
-- Onset of destructive 58-mph sustained winds (meets criteria for upgrade to TCCOR 1-E): 9 a.m. Saturday.
-- Peak 58-mph sustained winds and 69-mph gusts: 1 p.m. Saturday (also the forecast closest point of approach, 110 miles west of Kadena).
-- Winds diminishing below destructive 58-mph sustained: 4 p.m. Saturday.
-- Winds diminishing below 40-mph sustained: 3 a.m. Sunday.

Still expecting up to 3 inches of rain associated with TD 18W.

This post will be updated around daybreak Friday.


6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Japan time: Tropical Depression 18W continues in a quasi-stationary state for the moment, Joint Typhoon Warning Center reports.

But it remains forecast to pass west of Okinawa on Saturday, only in the early afternoon instead of early morning, as previously reported.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3. Expect possible upgrade to TCCOR 2 sometime after dawn breaks on Friday. Fleet Activities Sasebo has entered TCCOR 4, according to its official Facebook page.

At 3 p.m., TD 18W was 294 miles south of Kadena Air Base, crawling west at about 1 mph, and had strengthened slightly, to 35-mph sustained winds and 46-mph gusts.

If TD 18W remains on its present course, it's forecast to keep heading west-northwest, intensifying into a tropical storm overnight Thursday, then turn north, strengthening gradually and picking up forward speed as it goes.

TD 18W is forecast to pass 110 miles west of Kadena at 1 p.m. Saturday, packing at storm's center 58-mph sustained winds and 75-mph gusts as it passes, with Kadena lying right at the edge of TD 18W's 50-knot (58-mph wind bands).

We'll post an updated wind-forecast timeline when it becomes available.

Once out and away from the Ryukyu Islands, TD 18W is forecast to gradually weaken and thread the needle between southeastern Korea and Kyushu in southwest Japan.

JTWC projects TD 18W to pass through the Tsushima Strait, 67 miles southeast of Chinhae Naval Base and 61 miles northwest of Sasebo Naval Base between 5 and 8 p.m. Sunday, still packing 52-mph sustained winds and 63-mph gusts as it roars through the strait.


1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Japan time: Here is the initial wind-forecast timeline for Tropical Depression 18W, courtesy of Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing Weather Flight. U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3.

-- Onset of 40-mph sustained winds: 6 p.m. Friday.
-- Onset of destructive 58-mph sustained winds: Not forecast to occur at this time.
-- Peak 52-mph sustained winds, 69-mph gusts: 8 a.m. Saturday.
-- Winds diminishing below 40-mph sustained: Midnight Saturday.

Between 2 to 3 inches of rain associated with 18W are also forecast.


11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Japan time: Say hello to the 18th numbered tropical cyclone of the northwest Pacific's season, due to pass west of Okinawa early Saturday morning, with the island right at the edge of Tropical Depression 18W's destructive wind bands.

At 9 a.m., TD 18W was 282 miles south-southeast of Kadena Air Base, moving north at 4 mph, with 29-mph sustained winds and 40-mph gusts.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3. Extended forecast for Kadena remains the same as previously reported, for now.

If TD 18W remains on its present heading, it's forecast to intensify into a tropical storm, curve west-northwest, then north, passing 137 miles west of Kadena at 8 a.m. Saturday with 58-mph sustained winds and 75-mph gusts at storm's center.

From there, 18W is forecast to peak at 63-mph sustained winds and 81-mph gusts at 9 a.m. Sunday, well past Okinawa.

18W should next head toward the Tsushima Strait between Kyushu in southwestern Japan and the southeastern edges of the Korean peninsula, weakening as it goes and passing 84 miles northwest of Sasebo Naval Base, 158 miles northwest of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and 46 miles southeast of Chinhae Naval Base.

As is the case with most storms at their birth, there remains much uncertainty regarding wind speeds, forward speed and forecast track. There's a spread of some 300 miles among model solutions three days out, according to JTWC.

Model track guidance and the GFS and CMC ensembles generally agree on a track similar to JTWC's, with some outliers. Keep it here; more information as it becomes available.


9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 at 9 a.m. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible within 48 hours. Time to start preparing.


6:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, Japan time: 95W Invest remains a tropical disturbance with a high probability of becoming a tropical cyclone within 24 hours, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

U.S. bases remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. No recommendation has been made to accelerate to TCCOR 3 and destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are not forecast at this point, according to an official with Kadena Air Base's 18th Wing Weather Flight.

All that could change, based on whether 95W does become a tropical cyclone, how strong it might become and how close it comes to Okinawa. None of that is happening yet. It might happen; it might not. Weather is like that.

Kadena's extended weather forecast, courtesy of the 18th Wing Weather Flight, does call for some fairly high sustained winds and strong gusts on Friday and Saturday:

-- Friday morning: Easterly 23-mph sustained winds and 28-mph gusts.
-- Friday afternoon/evening: Easterly 34-mph sustained winds with gusts between 49 and 61 mph, 40-percent chance of rainshowers and isolated thunderstorms.
-- Saturday morning: The peak stuff. Southeasterly 44-mph sustained winds and gusts between 65 and 74 mph, 40-percent chance of rainshowers and isolated thunderstorms.
-- Saturday afternoon/evening: Winds shifting southerly, 43-mph sustained winds and gusts between 64 and 70 mph, 70-percent chance of rainshowers and isolated thunderstorms.
-- Sunday morning: Southerly winds, 34-mph sustained and gusts between 50 and 60 mph. Diminishing from there.

Even if destructive winds aren't forecast and TCCORs don't accelerate, it doesn't hurt to prepare. Better to be prepared for nothing or very little than to not prepare and have the worst happen. Stay tuned. More later.


7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, Japan time: A tropical cyclone formation alert has been issued by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center on disturbance labeled 95W Invest.

JTWC is currently assessing the disturbance as a monsoon depression, with an extremely wide diameter, about 860 miles. It's forecast to track west-northwest initially, then north in the general direction of Okinawa in the next two to three days, strengthening gradually as it moves.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. Whether we see an upgrade to that depends entirely on forecast winds and 95W's forecast proximity to the island in the next few days. No way to say definitively right now.

Whether it becomes something more or remains as is, the weather outlook in general for Okinawa this weekend is grim, at best, according to both the Kadena Air Base and local Japanese forecasts.

Winds have already begun picking up. Expect southeasterly winds Friday afternoon, 31-mph sustained gusting to 46 by afternoon and evening, increasing to 36-mph sustained and 55-mph gusts Saturday afternoon and evening. Expect rainshowers and isolated thunderstorms throughout the forecast period.

Model track guidance and the GFS and CMC ensembles continue to agree on a track west-northwest, then north close to Okinawa.

But JTWC also reports there's a spread among model solutions of about 245 miles two days out. Can mean the difference between passing over the island and as far west as Ishigaki.

Bottom line: It's hard to tell right now. It's very early in the life of a potential storm; 95W has yet to develop into a tropical cyclone. Keep it tuned here; we'll post more as it becomes known.


1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, Japan time: No, there’s no typhoon brewing at the moment. But the weather forecast for Okinawa this coming weekend calls for high winds, rain and showers, heavy at times.

A disturbance labeled 95W Invest is being called by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center a “medium” area for development into a tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours. It’s a fairly wide area of circulation, and could be part of the cause of much of the forecast nastiness this weekend.

U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4.

Kadena Air Base’s local forecast for the bad weather to creep in Wednesaday afternoon, progressing to 80-percent chance of showers and widespread thunderstorms and 30-mph sustained southerly winds gusting to 46 mph on Friday, diminishing slightly on Saturday.


Model track guidance and the GFS and CMC ensembles agree on a poleward track in the general vicinity of Okinawa, then moving north toward southwestern Japan. Storm Tracker is keeping an eye on it.
 

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