Okinawa on alert as latest typhoon tracks north
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Rainy, windy weekends have become the norm on Okinawa in September, this year thanks to a pair of tropical cyclones.
The latest, Typhoon Khanun, tracked more to the north than initially forecast, threatening the island with potential gusts up to 63 mph on Saturday.
Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2 was declared at 5 p.m. Friday. Officials at Kadena Air Base’s 18th Weather Flight said they expected to upgrade that to TCCOR 1 early Saturday morning.
Kadena began evacuating its KC-135 Stratotankers and hangaring its F-15 Eagle fighter-interceptors and deployed F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter-bombers from other bases, said Lt. Col. Mike Paoli, 18th Wing spokesman. Not immediately known was where the KC-135s would head, he said.
A low pressure trough weakened an area of high pressure over Taiwan enough to send the storm more to the north-northwest than initially projected, said Kadena weather officer Capt. Colin Reece.
Khanun, Thai for jackfruit, is a much smaller, weaker storm than last week’s Nabi, Reece said. At 6 p.m. Friday, Khanun was 414 miles south-southeast of Okinawa, moving northwest at 16 mph, packing sustained winds of 86 mph and gusts up to 104 mph.
It was expected to pass 224 miles southwest of Kadena at 2 p.m. Saturday, with sustained winds of 109 mph and gusts up to 132.