CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Okinawa may end up in the cross hairs of yet another tropical storm.

Tokage formed two days ago just north of Pohnpei, well to the southeast of Guam. It’s begun tracking in the general direction of Okinawa after passing between Guam and Saipan early Wednesday.

Officials at the 18th Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base say it’s too soon to say whether Tokage will become the seventh tropical storm to either threaten or hit Okinawa in the last three months.

1st Lt. John Hurley of Kadena’s weather flight said more would be known Thursday, but that 18th Weather Flight officials expected it to take one of two likely paths:

Edging north, missing Okinawa to the east.Or, under the influence of high pressure off China, staying south of the island and heading west.As of 9 p.m. Japan time Wednesday, Tropical Storm Tokage was well to the west of the Marianas Islands, moving almost due west at about 20 mph, packing sustained winds of 69 mph and gusts up to 86 mph at its center.

If the storm continues to move as forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, it will develop into a typhoon at 9 a.m. Japan time Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service, a flood watch in effect for the Marianas Islands expired at 4 p.m. Guam time Wednesday.

Tokage dumped 1.28 inches of rain at Antonio Won-Pat International Airport, 1.59 inches on east-central Mangilao, 1.25 inches on west-central Apra Harbor, .95 inches on southeastern Inarajan and 2.35 inches on Guam’s southernmost village of Merizo.

Rota, an island north of Guam, received 2.79 inches. Not known was how much fell on Tinian and Saipan, further north.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s Web site projects Tokage to continue heading northwest toward Okinawa, then turning northeast just before reaching the Daito islands east of Okinawa.

The projected closest point of approach is forecast to be 253 miles east of Okinawa at 10 p.m. Sunday, with sustained winds of 161 mph and gusts up to 196 mph at its center.

Just last weekend, Typhoon Ma-on passed to the east of Okinawa before making a beeline to Tokyo. Six deaths were blamed on the storm.

Prior to that, since early August:

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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