As Talim passes Okinawa, Typhoon Nabi is forming
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — It’s September on Okinawa — must be typhoon season.
While one typhoon passes well to the south of the island, another has formed to the southeast.
U.S. military bases on Okinawa remained at Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 late Tuesday as Typhoon Talim passed some 385 miles to the south of the island, swirling toward Taiwan with sustained winds of 144 mph and gusts clocked at 172 mph.
The storm wasn’t expected to get within 310 miles of Okinawa at 2 a.m. Thursday, according to projections by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.
But while Okinawa may have dodged Talim, another tropical storm, the Western Pacific’s 14th of the season, strengthened into a typhoon Tuesday evening, some 250 miles east-northeast of Guam.
“That’s the storm to watch,” Senior Airman Thomas Lee, a forecaster with Kadena Air Base’s 18th Weather Flight, said Wednesday afternoon. “Right now it’s on a path heading straight for us, but we’re thinking it will turn north before it gets here.”
The storm will be dubbed Typhoon Nabi, which means “butterfly” in Korean. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center predicted it would begin to turn northward Saturday.
The storm’s center was forecast to be about 35 miles north of Saipan by 9 a.m. Wednesday, with sustained winds of 92 mph and gusts of 115 mph.
An Okinawa Meteorological Observatory spokesman said Typhoon Nabi was too distant to accurately gauge its effect on Okinawa.
“It is still too early to forecast the exact direction it will move,” he said. “It seems that the storm began to follow the path that [Typhoon Talim] took, with a slight tilt to the east. This means that there is a possibility that it might hit Okinawa’s main island or Daito islands, to the east of Okinawa.
“It is expected to affect Okinawa beginning Monday or Tuesday next week,” he said.
As a precaution, Okinawa bases remained in TCCOR 3 Wednesday, meaning that destructive winds of 57.5 mph or greater could hit the island within 48 hours. Base residents were advised to clean the grounds around their homes and office spaces and watch for further storm updates on AFN television and radio.
They also can check the latest update by calling the 18th Weather Flight hot line at DSN 634-4081.