(Click here for the latest on Wukong from Accuweather.)

Tropical Storm Wukong hooked westward Wednesday morning as weather and command officials at Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni continued to monitor its wobbly movements south of Japan’s main islands.

Sasebo remained in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch while Iwakuni planned to stay in TCCOR 3 until at least Thursday morning, officials said.

Wukong sat about 345 miles southeast of Sasebo at midnight Wednesday, rumbling west at 6 mph — 8 mph slower than at noon but faster than Monday’s 2 mph and 3 mph — with sustained winds of 52 mph and gusts of up to 63 mph at its center.

It’s forecast to keep moving west-northwest, interacting with a low-pressure system moving over South Korea that should drag Wukong more to the north, according to Capt. Jonathan Wilson, commander of the 18th Wing Weather Flight at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base.

“It’s picked up forward speed and that’s a good thing,” he said. “Typhoons follow the path of least resistance. The faster it goes, the closer it will get to that low-pressure system in Korea and be drawn to it like a magnet.”

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts Wukong to remain at below typhoon strength as it grazes Japan’s southwestern Kyushu Island slightly west of Sasebo early Saturday morning. Maximum sustained winds of 63 mph and gusts of up to 81 mph are projected for between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Friday as it storms over Kagoshima, in southern Kyushu.

The naval base can expect a windy, rainy Saturday, with Wukong’s closest point forecast to be 31 miles west of Sasebo at 7 a.m.

Base spokesman Chuck Howard said Sasebo may experience a “brief period” of south-southwesterly winds of 35-45 mph and gusts of up to 58 mph. Base officials were awaiting advice from local forecasters whether to upgrade conditions of readiness, he said.

Wukong was forecast to pass well to the west of Iwakuni, about 175 miles, at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“We anticipate to stay in TCCOR 3 until at least [Thursday] morning, but stand by to make changes should the situation warrant,” said Iwakuni spokeswoman Master Sgt. Lesli Coakley.

Okinawa should remain well out of harm’s way, Wilson said.

“Some pretty major things would have to come into play to push it to the south,” he said, citing a high-pressure area over China that “would have to intensify greatly.”

As Wukong churns away from Kyushu, it’s forecast to make a beeline across the Tsushima Strait toward South Korea’s southeastern coast, crashing ashore packing 52 mph sustained winds and 63 mph gusts at 10 p.m. Saturday, swirling 23 miles east of Chinhae Naval Base, then crossing the southeastern part of the peninsula back into the Sea of Japan.

Meanwhile, the JTWC issued its final warning for Tropical Depression Sonamu at noon Wednesday Japan time. Swirling some 425 miles south of Kyoto, Sonamu sped northward at 37 mph toward its forecast demise just off the coast of Shikoku island at mid-morning Thursday.

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