A rainy, blustery Friday was in the cards for southwestern Japan’s Sasebo Naval Base, with South Korea’s Chinhae Naval Base expecting much the same on Saturday as Tropical Storm Wukong began curving northwest toward landfall early Friday morning over Kyushu Island’s east coast.

Sasebo issued Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 on Wednesday afternoon and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to the northeast remained in TCCOR 3 while Chinhae, on South Korea’s southeastern coast, declared TCCOR 4 Thursday morning.

“We’re making sure things are good and tied down here,” Sasebo spokesman Chuck Howard said of the ships anchored there.

Wukong is projected to pass 128 miles west of Iwakuni at 4 p.m. Friday and 32 miles east of Sasebo at 6 p.m., with diminished sustained winds of 35 mph and gusts of 46 mph. Forecasts call for Wukong to weaken into a tropical depression as it crosses the Tsushima Strait toward South Korea.

“We are tracking this typhoon very closely and will continue to evaluate our preparations as it heads near the Korean peninsula,” said Lt. j.g. Jessica Gandy, spokeswoman, Commander, Naval Forces Korea.

Landfall is forecast 11½ miles west of Chinhae at 1 p.m. Saturday, with forecasts calling for showers and sustained winds of 23-mph and 35-mph gusts.

Should Wukong pass east, Sasebo would be well-protected from the storm’s fury by hills and mountains to its north, Howard said. Storms that pass west of Sasebo pose the most danger of flying debris and structural damage, since very little shields Sasebo’s harbor to the south and west.

If Wukong tracks as forecast, “it doesn’t appear that’s something we’ll have to face,” Howard said. “We have our fingers crossed at this point.”

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Wukong swirled 196 miles southeast of Sasebo, moving west northwest at 7 mph. Its sustained winds and maximum gusts held steady at 52 mph and 63 mph respectively, as it had the previous two days.

Iwakuni had no plans to change its TCCOR although “station weather is not expecting the storm to affect the air station,” base spokeswoman Master Sgt. Lesli Coakley said.

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