Tropical Storm Ma-on moves toward Okinawa
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Another weekend, another tropical storm.
For the sixth time in 2½ months, Okinawa has a tropical storm lurking nearby, this one called Ma-on. In what’s almost becoming a ritual, the storm might affect the weekend, as have the previous five.
“From a meteorological standpoint, it’s an act of season,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael E. Milton, duty forecaster at Kadena Air Base’s 18th Weather Flight.
But “the weekend isn’t all lost,” he said. “It looks like this thing will be out of here pretty quickly.”
At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Tropical Storm Ma-on, which spawned near Guam last week and has been taking a zig-zag path since, was 495 miles southeast of Okinawa, moving west-northwest at 8 mph. It was packing sustained winds of 69 mph and gusts up to 86 mph at its center.
If it stays on its projected path, Ma-on was forecast to pass 265 miles east of Okinawa at 8 a.m. Friday, and move north-northeast toward Kyoto, in central Japan. The highest winds at Kadena were expected to be about 35 mph at 8 a.m. Friday.
Japanese and military weather forecasts call for a 50 percent chance of rain Thursday and Friday, “not necessarily associated with the typhoon,” Milton said, “but a combination of that and a frontal boundary.”
The storm is not a big one, he said, but “it’s growing nonetheless, growing into an average-sized storm.”
It will be “sheared apart,” he predicted, as it moves further north and bumps into frontal boundaries, the jet stream and other weather variables.
“We’re not expecting any significant rain or wind,” Milton said.
Ma-on, a Chinese word that means “horse saddle” and is the name of a Hong Kong peak, is the sixth tropical storm in the past 10 weeks to lurk near or strike Okinawa, all on or around weekends.