Super typhoon headed east of Okinawa
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Super Typhoon Dianmu, now whipping itself into a frenzy in the Philippine Sea, is heading on a track that will take it far to the east of Okinawa by the weekend.
But though Okinawa might be spared the 130-150 mph winds estimated to be at the storm’s center on Saturday, forecasters say the island will experience moderate winds and rain through Sunday.
“It’s still too early to say how hard we’ll be hit,” Tech. Sgt. Glen DeMars, a forecaster with Kadena Air Base’s 18th Weather Flight, said Wednesday. “These storms can be unpredictable.”
He said it appeared Okinawa will be spared the brunt of the storm, which is forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii to pass some 270 miles east of the island.
According to a Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast Wednesday afternoon, Super Typhoon Dianmu is expected to shift to a north-northeasterly track Friday as it passes well to the east of Okinawa. By early Monday morning, it’s predicted to be some 300 miles to the east of Sasebo and MCAS Iwakuni, with winds of 120 mph at its center.
On Okinawa, DeMars said, “We’re looking to feel some winds picking up Friday and on into Saturday. It’s a huge storm, one of the strongest I’ve seen in my 3½ years out here. But we can’t say yet whether we’ll go into any heightened typhoon conditions.
“There’s no doubt we’ll get some rain, too. But it’s questionable how much we will get.”
Dianmu, which means “Mother of Lightning” in Chinese, is expected to bring thunderstorms to Okinawa on Saturday night and Sunday, according to the weather flight’s five-day forecast.
An Okinawa Meteorological Observatory official said Dianmu, located some 345 miles north-northwest of Yap at midday Wednesday and moving northward at 10 mph, still was too far away to accurately pinpoint how it would affect Okinawa.
“We will definitely get some wind and rain,” he said. “But we do not know how much.”
The storm had winds whipping to 180 mph at its center Wednesday afternoon, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.