Okinawa sweeps up Typhoon Songda's damage
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — It didn’t take long for Okinawa to shake off the effects of Typhoon Songda Tuesday and get back to business.
Most base schools reopened on time and commissaries and exchanges did a brisk business as residents of the island’s military bases ventured outside after being locked in for almost two days, as what was billed as the worst typhoon in 30 years leisurely passed over the island without causing a hint of havoc.
Only scattered power outages and a few broken windows were reported on the bases. Little more damage was reported in the Okinawan community, where the biggest loss to Songda, which boasted winds up to 104 mph on the ground, was to the island’s tangerine crop.
A spokesman for the Nago chapter of the Japan Agricultural Association pegged damages to the crop, which was almost ripe for picking, at almost 100 million yen, or about $9 million.
The Nago area in northern Okinawa received the brunt of Songda’s winds Sunday night. The worst winds in central Okinawa, home to most of the U.S. military bases, were clocked at a breezy 87.5 mph. But besides scattered power outages in housing areas on the Air Force base, the bases held up well under the typhoon’s onslaught.
“As far as physical damages, there are reports of several trees down, some stop signs were blown down, and one window in the Camp Services building on Foster was broken,” a Marine Corps spokesman said Tuesday. “That is all.”
In most housing areas, the most visible sign of Songda’s passing were piles of tree limbs gathered at the curb for pickup by trash crews later in the week.
Kadena Air Base also reported very little damage.
“Fortunately, there were no reported injuries at Kadena tied to Typhoon Songda and the base didn’t sustain any major damage,” said Sayaka Higa, 18th Wing media relations spokeswoman.
“The biggest impact came from power outages caused by downed electric lines and damaged transformers,” she said. “Some residents went approximately 40 hours without power to their homes. There were also some downed trees and minor damage to a few buildings — windows, doors, water leaks, that sort of thing.”
The base continued to experience scattered electrical outages Tuesday afternoon and two base schools, Bob Hope Primary and Amelia Earhart Intermediate, were closed Tuesday because of storm-caused electrical problems.
They were to reopen Wednesday, a school official said.
Okinawa prefectural officials said 152 people from 60 families were evacuated from their homes during the storm. However, major damage was reported to just three buildings and only seven homes were flooded.
Damage to three vehicles was reported, including one case in which a refrigerator smashed into a parked car. Sixteen people were treated for injuries, Okinawa police reported.
Some 45,000 people missed their flights, 750 of them sleeping in Naha International Airport, when all flights were canceled Sunday.
All flights except to Kyushu and western Japan, where Typhoon Songda was headed, resumed Monday night.
Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.