Okinawa projected to see typhoon Sunday
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — U.S. bases on Okinawa went into a heightened tropical cyclone warning condition Friday in preparation for Typhoon Meari, forecast to hit the island Sunday.
The strongest sustained winds are expected to be around 57.5 mph, with gusts peaking at about 86 mph at 3 a.m. Monday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii. Winds of 57.5 mph or greater are expected on the island from about 3 a.m. Sunday to 9 p.m. Monday.
Base residents were instructed Friday to secure items around their homes and offices. The bases are expected to shut down at 3 a.m. Sunday under TCCOR-1E.
Meari, the Korean word for echo, is this season’s 21st Western Pacific tropical storm and the 10th tracked near Okinawa, said Tech. Sgt. Robert Fournier, a forecaster with Kadena’s 18th Weather Flight.
“This one’s got some good winds and is a compact system, not as spread out as the last one,” he said Friday. “It’s still two days out, but it looks like it will come close to us.”
He said Meari will keep base residents indoors all day Sunday if it tracks as forecast. The storm center is expected to make its closest approach to the island some 104 miles to the west at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Early Saturday the storm was 445 miles southeast of Kadena and churning northwest at almost 12 mph.
A forecaster with the Okinawa Meteorological Observatory said winds of 55 mph were recorded 105 miles from the storm center Friday afternoon.
Rain is expected from noon Saturday through Monday, he said.
Typhoon Meari’s projected track has the storm curving to the northeast after it passes Okinawa, making a beeline for Kyushu.