Storm headed for Okinawa fizzling
May 31, 2003
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Relax. Tropical Storm Linfa is not expected to be as strong as previously forecast during its drive toward Okinawa from the Philippines.
Military bases downgraded their Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness from TCCOR-3 to TCCOR-4 on Thursday, which is normal for the typhoon season on Okinawa.
TCCOR-4 means that a storm with winds exceeding 57 mph can be expected within 72 hours.
However, any longtime Okinawa resident will tell you storms can form and threaten Okinawa with little warning and typhoons are known to pass over the island, decide they like it here and return for a second swipe.
That’s why TCCOR-4 is in effect annually from June 1 through Nov. 30. All residents are advised by the 18th Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base to stock up on food and typhoon supplies.
Bases went into TCCOR-3 on Wednesday afternoon. But the condition was lowered when it appeared Tropical Storm Linfa would not be as strong as anticipated as it pushed its way to the northeast from the northern Philippines.
The storm had winds gusting to 40 mph at its center Thursday as it churned to the northeast at 12.6 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Linfa, named after a Chinese water lily, was forecast to be about 54 miles east-southeast of Kadena Air Base at 6 a.m. Friday.
The strongest winds on Okinawa were expected to be about 40 mph at 7 a.m., according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
The Okinawa Meteorological Observatory on Thursday forecast the storm to be a bit stronger as it passed to the east of the island Friday morning. A spokesman for the observatory said winds early Friday were expected to reach gusts of 45 mph, with 33 mph winds continuing until Friday evening.
Linfa is expected to weaken after it passes Okinawa and flows over colder waters toward the Japanese main islands. The closest approach to bases in Japan is expected to occur at 8 a.m. Saturday, when the storm will be 97.8 miles east of the Marine Corps Air Station at Iwakuni.
The strongest sustained winds at that time are forecast to be 28.7 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.
— Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.