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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The fourth storm of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season developed overnight Saturday well to the south of Guam. It’s begun moving northwest toward Okinawa, but it’s too early to predict whether it will affect the island, weather officials at Kadena Air Base said.

A high-pressure ridge currently rests over the East China Sea and Okinawa. But a low-pressure system is developing over China, said Tech. Sgt. Dionne Tirschel of Kadena’s 18th Weather Flight, and that will ultimately “dictate which direction it ends up going.”

Depending on the low’s movement and development, the storm “could curve east of us, it could continue west between Okinawa and Taiwan, it could curve over us,” Tirschel said.

“People should start thinking about what they need to do, get their shopping done, so there won’t be a big rush Thursday” if the storm sweeps over the island, Tirschel said.

Meanwhile, Guam appeared to be well out of the storm’s path, and weather officials there said they weren’t planning to post any warnings for the Marianas Islands.

“We expect it to go south of us,” between Guam and Yap, said Chip Guard, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service on Guam.

At midnight Sunday, Tropical Storm 4W spun 360 miles south of Guam, churning west-northwest at 10 mph with 40 mph sustained winds and 52 mph gusts at its center.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts Tropical Storm 4W to intensify as it moves northwest, reaching typhoon strength overnight Monday into Tuesday. It is projected to pass 190 miles southwest of Kadena at around 9 p.m. Friday, packing sustained 144 mph winds and 173 mph gusts.

If it becomes a named storm, it would be dubbed Man-yi, originally a strait but now a reservoir in Hong Kong.

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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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