KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Hello!

That’s the English definition of the Chu’ukese word Rananim, which is the name of the tropical storm that was building to typhoon status Monday some 500 miles south of Okinawa.

The storm is forecast to grow to typhoon strength over the next few days and pass just to the south of Okinawa with winds whipping up to 80.5 mph early Thursday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.

The Kadena Weather Flight forecast the storm center would move within 80 miles southwest of Kadena by 4 a.m. Thursday.

At 8 p.m. Monday all U.S. military bases on Okinawa went into Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3, meaning destructive winds of 57 mph or stronger were expected within 48 hours. Base residents were instructed to initiate a general cleanup around their homes, removing any items that could be blown away by high winds.

If all goes as was forecast Monday, military bases on Okinawa will go into TCCOR 2 about 8 p.m. Tuesday and TCCOR 1 by 8 a.m. Wednesday. The bases could be locked down and bracing for the worst the storm has to offer in TCCOR 1-Emergency by 8 p.m. Wednesday, said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Milton, a forecaster with the Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base.

“The current forecast has the storm passing directly over Kadena,” Milton said. “But it’s still pretty far out and undeveloped, so anything can happen over the next couple of days.

“The storm is still trying to find itself,” he said.

Tropical Storm Rananim was expected to ramp up to full typhoon status early Wednesday as it turns toward Okinawa from the east. By midday Monday winds were gusting up to 57 mph at its center.

“It’s still a fairly weak storm,” Milton said. “We’ll have a better idea about what it will do as it approaches.”

Tropical Storm Rananim was moving to the north at 4.6 mph early Tuesday. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast the closest point of approach of the storm center would be at 4 a.m. Thursday. Winds greater than 57 mph were forecast to last from 8 p.m. Wednesday to 1 p.m. Thursday, according to a bulletin issued by the Weather Flight Tuesday morning.

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