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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Residents of Okinawa warily are watching the approach of Typhoon Songda, expected to skirt the island Sunday afternoon.

Already, one major weekend event, the Hansen Friendship Festival, has been canceled in anticipation of high winds and rain. But forecasters with the 18th Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base say Songda, named for a northern Vietnamese river, still is too far away to accurately predict how close and how strong it will be when it passes Okinawa.

“Right now, the closest point of approach is forecast to be 161 nautical miles (185 miles) to the south,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Fournier, a forecaster with the weather flight. “But it’s still pretty far way and with typhoons anything can happen.”

Okinawa military bases are expected to go into Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 Friday afternoon, meaning high winds could be expected within 72 hours. As of Thursday afternoon, the highest winds on Okinawa were expected to be about 52 mph by 3 p.m. Sunday.

If that forecast holds true, the bases may not have to go into a higher TCCOR status, forecasters said.

At the time Songda is expected to make its closest pass to Okinawa, winds at the center of the storm are forecast to be 110 mph, with gusts blowing as high as 132 mph.

“We’ll be a lot more sure of how close the storm will come to us and how strong the winds will be as it gets within a day or so of us,” Fournier said.

The extended weather forecast is for mostly cloudy skies Saturday with winds and rain showers Sunday and Monday.

The friendship festival, which was canceled, was to be a two-day open house originally scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. “We are not sure how we will be affected by the typhoon, but we have canceled the festival just in case,” a Marine Corps Community Services spokeswoman said Thursday. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Call DSN 636-3567 for more information.

Still scheduled is a beach party at the White Beach Naval Facility from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, featuring live entertainment and jet ski and banana boat rides. Call DSN 642-2311 for more information.

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