Sasebo is spared the worst of Typhoon Songda's punch
Typhoon Songda brought gusty winds but very little rainfall to the Kanto Plain as it skirted just to the west Tuesday night. Most U.S. military bases heard the All-Clear signal at about 6 a.m., said 2nd Lt. Rob Branham, the wing weather officer for the 374th Operations Support Squadron.
“We had a good batch of showers come through between 1 and 3 a.m.,” he said. “But a lot of the rain stayed off to our southwest, west of Mount Fuji.”
There were no reports of damage or injuries on the Kanto Plain, which received just .10 inches of rainfall, Branham said, while the highest reported wind gust was 55 mph at Haneda Airport.
Songda passed through the Kanto Plain rapidly early Wednesday, moving northwest of the region at a 45 mph clip.
“We really saw the diminishing effects of it this morning,” Branham said. “It’s still classified as a tropical storm, but it’s really just a deep area of low pressure right now. What’s left of it is pushing northeast near Hakkaido at about 60 mph. It’s going to be headed up well north of Hakkaido and moving toward the Aleutian chains.”
Military forecasters were predicting a very hot, sunny day on the Kanto Plain on Wednesday, with highs approaching the mid-90s.
Songda was the fifth typhoon to threaten the Kanto Plain this year, Branham said.
Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station weathered typhoon-force winds for hours Tuesday. Forecasters had expected the typhoon to approach no closer than about 86 miles but Songda came within 20 miles of the facility, Chief Warrant Officer David Fulton, station weather officer, said Tuesday night.
“We had sustained winds for several hours of about 70 mph, with gusts up to 100 mph,” Fulton said Tuesday night, as the typhoon’s effects began to weaken in Iwakuni. “We didn’t believe it would hit us this hard. It just wasn’t supposed to happen.”
Base spokesman Capt. Stewart Upton said he would release no information about possible damages or injuries on the base until Wednesday.
The typhoon pounded Japan’s southern main island of Kyushu with heavy rains and strong winds Tuesday, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes and knocking out power to over a million households, the Associated Press reported.
Across Japan, 580 people were injured and eight people were killed, Japanese media reported, although police confirmed only three deaths.
Rescuers were searching for the 22 crew members of an Indonesian cargo ship that ran aground and was flooded. Police and coast guard were also investigating reports that stormy seas sank a Cambodia-registered freighter carrying 18 Russian crew in western Hatsukaichi harbor. Two died and three still were missing, a Hiroshima Coast Guard Bureau spokesman said on condition of anonymity.
The Associated Press also reported a 62-year-old man was buried in a mudslide in southern Kogoshima prefecture. He was rescued and taken to a hospital, but he later died, a local police spokesman said.
Air and train travel was canceled over much of the affected area and some expressways were closed, transportation officials reported Tuesday.
The most severe damages reported on Okinawa, however, were scattered power outages, downed tree limbs and some broken glass.
Sasebo Naval Base in southern Japan also escaped the potential storm damage Songda was predicted to inflict Tuesday morning. The highest sustained winds on base reached just 40 mph and the strongest gust just 63 mph at 9:27 a.m., although Nagasaki City, about 50 miles southeast of Sasebo, had maximum wind gusts of 94 miles per hour around 9 a.m.
Sasebo issued the TCCOR All-Clear around 3:15 p.m., although a small-craft warning remained in effect into the early evening.
A survey of Sasebo base facilities revealed no major structural damages; officials reported no injuries to base personnel.
Sasebo’s Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment tallied the following conditions on base during Typhoon Songda’s passage:
The closest point of approach was 12 miles to the southeast at 10:10 a.m.The maximum sustained wind was from the northeast at 40 mph at 6:53 a.m.The maximum gust came from the northeast at 63 mph at 9:27 a.m.The storm’s total precipitation was 2.47 inches.Late Tuesday afternoon, winds dwindled to from 17 mph to 23 mph, gusting to 40 mph.
Elsewhere in the area, Songda appeared to inconvenience more than damage. Hideki Ikematsu, spokesman for the Crisis Management and Disaster Prevention Department of the Nagasaki Prefectural government, said, “A total of 3,022 people (1,969 families) in Nagasaki, Hirado and Goto Island voluntarily evacuated.” He said six people in the prefecture received injuries during the typhoon.
The spokesman said 82,800 households in Nagasaki Prefecture lost power during Typhoon Songda “but there was no report of any flooding or damages to the public roads.”
Major expressways in Kyushu and the Chugoku districts closed, and the typhoon forced the cancellation of at least 448 flights in Kyushu and Chugoku, according to a Japanese news report.
Radar showed that Typhoon Songda made landfall at approximately 9:40 a.m., 23 miles to the south of the Sasebo base. Radar also showed Typhoon Songda continued to make jogs to the east as it moved north-northeast at 17 mph.
As he did last week when Typhoon Chaba approached, base commander Capt. Michael James made rooms available in bachelor housing to those living off base who did not feel safe in their own housing.
Chiyomi Sumida and Nancy Montgomery contributed to this report.