Out-of-season typhoon in Okinawa's weekend forecast
Stars and Stripes December 5, 2004
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Military bases on Okinawa braced Friday for Typhoon Nanmadol, an out-of-season storm forecast to douse the island with heavy rain and winds gusting to 70 mph by Sunday.
However, by 1 a.m. Saturday the storm was weakening substantially and forecasters with the 18th Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base had revised their predictions. The storm was no longer expected to hit the island with typhoon-strength winds.
“The strongest winds on Okinawa are expected to be 50 mph at 2 a.m. Sunday,” a warning issued at 1:20 a.m. Saturday stated. The center of the storm was forecast to pass some 17 miles to the north of Kadena at that time.
The island went into Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 Friday morning, meaning destructive winds of 57 mph or greater were possible within 48 hours. Air Force 1st Lt. John Hurley, a forecaster with the 18th Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base, said the winds on Okinawa will be just strong enough to require the removal of all outside Christmas decorations.
“I’d caution people to bring them all in,” Hurley said Friday afternoon. “They can put them back out Monday morning.”
Typhoon Nanmadol, named for ruins on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei, was located about 690 miles southwest of Okinawa early Saturday and moving 14 mph to the north-northwest. It took a northeasterly curve toward Taiwan and Okinawa late Friday.
The storm crossed over the Philippines on Thursday with winds clocked at 174 mph, killing at least eight people on the northern island of Luzon as it headed for Taiwan. It was the fourth heavy storm to hit the Philippines in a week and hampered rescue efforts for survivors of a typhoon that claimed more than 475 lives earlier in the week. Some 650 people total are dead and more than 400 are still missing in the country’s northern region from the effects of major flooding and landslides, according to Philippine officials.
Typhoon Nanmadol’s speed and track over land and colder water is expected to weaken it to tropical storm strength before it hits Okinawa, Hurley said.
Bases on Okinawa were not expected to go into lockdown, TCCOR 1-Emergency.
The strongest sustained winds on Okinawa are forecast to be 30 mph, according to the latest warning from the 18th Weather Flight.
“It’s going to move out of the area fairly rapidly,” Hurley said.
He predicted the storm would dump three to five inches of rain on Okinawa and winds of 15 to 20 mph would continue to bend banana and palm trees for a day or two after the storm center passes Okinawa early Sunday.