Sasebo prepares for Typhoon Meari
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — This southern Japan base was forecast to enter a Tropical Storm Watch on Tuesday morning with Typhoon Meari passing the area late Wednesday afternoon.
The storm began to move faster overnight Monday. During the day, it had moved at only about 1.15 mph in a northeasterly direction.
It should pass Sasebo more than 100 miles to the southeast Wednesday at 4 p.m., according to Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Kawczk, forecaster with Sasebo’s Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment, Tuesday morning.
When storms pass east of Sasebo, the impact is far less dramatic, in part because of natural landscape barriers, forecasters say.
The base was still in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Four at 8 a.m. Tuesday, and Kawczk said he anticipated the TCCOR downgrade to Tropical Storm Watch later in the morning.
The forecast late Monday said there is was a slim chance the typhoon could become quasi-stationary, or begin moving southward once it reached Kyushu on Wednesday or Thursday, then slowly return to a northeast track and completely move out of the area over the weekend.
At Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station in southwestern Honshu, forecasters predict the typhoon could bring tropical storm conditions at worst but will pose no danger to the area, said Master Sgt. Lesli Coakley, a base spokeswoman.
Okinawa remained in TCCOR Storm Watch on Monday as forecasters with the 18th Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base warily watched Meari’s progress — or nonprogress.
“There’s always the possibility it could make a turn toward us, but that’s a remote possibility,” said Staff Sgt. Jaika Hawthorne, a Kadena forecaster. “When it does start moving again we expect to feel some more effects of the storm but no gusts more than 40 or 45 knots per hour (46 to 52 mph).”
Okinawa was socked by winds gusting up to 70 mph Sunday, but was spared the full fury of Meari’s 150 mph winds as the storm unexpectedly stayed some 90 miles to the south.
No major damage was reported and the U.S. bases on Okinawa returned to business as usual Monday morning.