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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Usagi mushroomed into the fourth typhoon of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season and rumbled Monday on a wobbly northwest track, placing Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni firmly in its crosshairs.

At midnight Monday, Usagi swirled 288 miles south of Iwo Jima, churning northwest at 7 mph with sustained winds of 86 mph and gusts of up to 104 mph. If it continues moving on the track forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Usagi will graze Iwakuni 25 miles to its east at 5 a.m. Friday, packing sustained 105-mph winds and 130-mph gusts at its center.

Iwakuni remained in seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 on Monday, but was to look at upgrading the level Tuesday, said Chief Warrant Officer Robert A. Abbott, Iwakuni’s Weather Service Division officer in charge.

“Right now, we don’t expect winds to exceed 50 knots (58 mph) for MCAS Iwakuni, but we are tracking and will update as needed,” Abbott said. No aircraft had been moved to safe havens as of 3 p.m. Monday, Abbott said.

Usagi is forecast to peak in strength at 9 p.m. Wednesday, packing 138-mph sustained winds and 160-mph gusts, equal to a Category-4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Okinawa appeared to be well out of danger, however, as the JTWC forecast Usagi to pass some 400 miles east of Okinawa at 3 a.m. Thursday.

An F/A-18C Hornet fighter jet was lost at sea Monday during a night training mission from the USS Kitty Hawk.

The pilot ejected safely and was picked up by a U.S. Navy helicopter shortly afterward, according to a 7th Fleet news release. The pilot’s name was not being released Monday night, the release said.

The jet was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 195, part of Naval Air Facility Atsugi-based Carrier Air Wing 5. The Kitty Hawk, forward-deployed to Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, is on its summer deployment in the Western Pacific. The accident occurred about 400 miles southeast of Guam, according to the release.


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