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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Weather officials here are eyeing a new tropical depression that formed Thursday about 450 miles southeast of Okinawa, the ninth tropical cyclone of the northwest Pacific season.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued the first warning for Tropical Depression 09W at 11 p.m. Thursday Japan time. Though not forecast to become a significant typhoon, the new system lurks close enough to Okinawa to be a concern, 18th Wing Weather Flight officials said.

"We’re going to keep watching it overnight to see if it develops and strengthens," 18th Wing Weather Flight commanding officer Capt. Brandon Alexander said.

Some computer-generated dynamic aids project the disturbance to move south of Okinawa; others forecast it to come much closer. "Until it starts to move, it’s hard to say" what it will do, Alexander said.

Forecasts on Okinawa call for showers starting Friday evening continuing through the weekend, with winds gusting between 30 and 35 mph, Alexander said.

At 9 p.m. Thursday, Tropical Depression 09W was 437 miles southeast of Okinawa, moving west-northwest at 3 mph with sustained 30 mph winds and 40 mph gusts.

If it moves on its forecast track, the storm should zigzag west and pass 325 miles south of Okinawa at 2 a.m. Saturday, packing sustained 46 mph winds and 58 mph gusts at its center.


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