Support our mission

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Like a slow-moving predator, Typhoon Ewiniar continued tracking further northwest on Friday and appeared as if it would spare U.S. bases in southwestern Japan much of its bite.

But the fourth storm of the northwest Pacific’s typhoon season remained a threat to Okinawa and put another target squarely in its crosshairs: the Korean peninsula.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast Ewiniar would graze Okinawa to its west late Saturday, then make landfall along Korea’s west coast at 9 p.m. Monday, putting Kunsan Air Base, Osan Air Base and, to a lesser extent, Chinhae Naval Base in its “hot zone.”

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” cautioned Capt. Colin Reece, 18th Weather Flight commanding officer at Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base.

“The potential is still there for seeing at least 50-knot (58 mph) winds.”

At midnight Friday, Ewiniar was 287½ miles south of Naha, Okinawa, rumbling slowly north-northwest at 9 mph and had diminished slightly in strength, packing sustained winds of 104 mph and gusts of up to 127 mph at its center — still the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

If it stayed on its forecast track, Ewiniar was to pass 114 miles west of Kadena at midnight Saturday.

The 18th Weather Flight forecast maximum sustained winds of 52 mph and peak winds of 69 mph for 13 hours, between 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.

Reece said he anticipated that Okinawa’s Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2 Friday would be upgraded to TCCOR 1 by 11 a.m. Saturday.

Once past Okinawa, Ewiniar is forecast to churn north toward landfall on Korea's west coast between Kunsan and Osan.

It’s still expected to be packing sustained winds of 86 mph and gusts of up to 104 mph.

Ewiniar was forecast to pass 107 miles west of Chinhae on the southeast coast at 6 p.m. Monday and 15 miles north of Kunsan at 7 p.m. Monday.

The storm was forecast to pass 18 miles southeast of Osan at midnight Monday and 28 miles southeast of Yongsan Garrison at 1 a.m. Tuesday.

U.S. Forces Korea bases on the peninsula were at TCCOR 4 at 10 a.m. Friday, according to USFK spokesman Dave Palmer.

“Operationally, local commands are taking all measures necessary to protect personnel and equipment,” he said.

Naval Forces Korea declared TCCOR 3 for Navy commands in Korea, with TCCOR 2 to be set Saturday “based on updated forecasts,” CNFK spokeswoman Lt. j.g. Jessica Gandy said.

In Japan, Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Kyushu was readying for only a glancing blow.

Ewiniar is forecast to pass 202 miles northwest at 10 a.m. Monday and 313 miles northwest of Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station at 6 p.m. Monday.

“We’ll get some pretty good winds and lots of rain, but the prospect of really destructive force events sort of dwindles as it moves farther away,” Sasebo spokesman Chuck Howard said.

As a precaution, Sasebo declared TCCOR 3 at 4 p.m. Friday and condition Storm Watch was to be issued Saturday afternoon “based on current warnings and analysis,” Howard said.

The USS Harper’s Ferry departed Thursday for safer waters. The USS Essex also was slated to get under way on Friday, Howard said.

The USS Juneau and USS Bowditch were expected to anchor in Sasebo’s India Basin and the USS Guardian and USS Safeguard were to be put in at a nearby Japanese drydock, Howard said.

Iwakuni expected to declare TCCOR 3 on Saturday but “our forecasts do not have us getting storm-force winds,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Geraci, weather staff noncommissioned officer in charge.

Commanders’ Cup softball tournaments scheduled for this weekend at Camp Hansen and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa were rescheduled for Monday through Wednesday, said Sonny Jones of Marine Corps Community Services Semper Fit Athletics.

author picture
Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up