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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Packing 150-mph gusts, more powerful than Okinawa has felt in five years, Typhoon Man-yi maintained a beeline toward a near-direct hit over the island starting Thursday night.

Wind gusts of 74 mph were recorded at 3:43 a.m. Friday at Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. Kadena Air Base experienced a 71-mph gust at 1:43 a.m., and .7 inches of rain had fallen by 3 a.m.

Meanwhile, Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in southwestern Japan were keeping an eye on Man-yi, though it was forecast to miss those bases to the southeast. U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain began preparing for a possible Sunday visit by Man-yi.

Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C (caution) was declared for U.S. bases on Okinawa at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, with TCCOR 1-E (emergency) expected to be issued at 10 p.m.

The closest point of approach was forecast for 32 miles west of Kadena Air Base at 2 p.m. Friday. Forecasts from Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight called for maximum wind gusts of 150 mph, expected around 10 a.m. Friday. Gusts of 58 mph and greater were forecast for between 10 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Saturday.

Man-yi, the third typhoon of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season, possessed a diameter between 920 and 1,150 miles and a well-defined eye 40 miles wide.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Man-yi whirled 288 miles south-southeast of Okinawa, rumbling north-northwest at 15 mph, packing 144-mph sustained winds and 173-mph gusts at its center.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts called for those numbers to increase to 155 and 190 into Thursday evening — equal to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

“If this thing hits us full force, I have a very bad feeling we could see quite a bit of damage on the bases and elsewhere,” 18th Wing Weather Flight Capt. Jonathan Wilson said.

Passing west of the island means Man-yi would put U.S. Bases “in the eyewall the whole time” with 144-mph winds from the storm’s stronger east quadrants pounding the island — “the absolute worst scenario for us,” Wilson said.

With the time for preparation come and gone, Wilson stressed the need for people to stay indoors, whether on base or off, and to be alert for changes in conditions.

“Dig in, be prepared, have your stuff together, tune in to TV, monitor our Web site if you still have power, be ready to help your neighbor once we come out of this and see what’s happened. Get a feel for the damage and who needs help,” Wilson said.

In advance of Man-yi’s arrival, Kadena’s 18th Wing evacuated KC-135 Stratotankers, Airborne Warning & Control Systems and C-130 Hercules aircraft on Thursday morning to various “safe haven” bases throughout the Pacific, wing spokesman Capt. Carlos Diaz said.

Saturday’s monthly remedial driver training course at Camp Foster’s safety office was postponed until July 21, officials announced Thursday.

Sunday’s Far East Bodybuilding Competition will go as scheduled “if we are in recovery early enough on Saturday,” said Wendy Pratt of Marine Corps Community Services marketing.

On Thursday, flights connecting Naha International Airport to Japan’s main islands were affected — Japan Air Lines, Japan Transocean Air, Ryukyu Air Commuter, Skymark and All Nippon Airways reported a total of 74 Thursday flights scrapped, stranding nearly 10,000 passengers.

Up north, Sasebo and Iwakuni remained in TCCOR-4. Sasebo spokesman Chuck Howard said the base was bracing for gusts of 58 mph late Saturday with six-plus inches of rain.

Man-yi was forecast to slide 130 miles southeast of Sasebo at 7 p.m. Saturday and 125 miles southeast of Iwakuni at 2 a.m. Sunday.

U.S. Forces Japan declared TCCOR-4 for its Kanto Plain bases, Yokota Air Base, Camp Zama, Atsugi Naval Air Facility and Yokosuka Naval Base, at 7 a.m. Thursday.

Man-yi is forecast to knife between those bases at 7 p.m. Sunday, still packing something of a punch, 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts, just under Category 1-equivalent strength.

Yokosuka already had begun preparations for the storm according to base emergency management officer Peter Novick.

“At this point, commands might be policing their areas for trash or debris, updating their recall rosters and making sure families are ready just in case,” he said. “But it’s pretty much business as usual.”

In general, TCCOR 4 and 3 are times when ships make decisions whether to sortie out, Novick said, as they need time to steam away from where the storm might hit.

Yokosuka is considered a “typhoon haven,” but in 58-mph winds, ships may leave port and anchor at sea, he said.

Stars and Stripes reporters David Allen, Allison Batdorff, Bryce Dubee and Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.

For the latest conditions ...Follow Typhoon Man-yi’s forecast track at: https://metocph.nmci.navy.mil/jtwc/warnings/wp0407.gif

The following sources are for weather information at specific bases:

•Kadena Air Base — http://weather.kadenaservices.com.

•Sasebo Naval Base — http://www.npmodsasebo.navy.mil

•Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni — https://weather.iwz.usmc.mil. Off-base residents assigned to Iwakuni may telephone (0827) 79-8300. On-base residents may tune to base cable Channel 6.

•Yokosuka Naval Base — www.cfay.navy.mil or on base community access Channel 12 or in AFN Eagle 810-AM radio.

Wind forecastTyphoon Man-yi wind forecast for Okinawa as of 6 p.m. Japan time on Thursday. Times are approximate and could change depending on storm’s track)

Winds exceeding 58 mph — 10 p.m. Thursday.

Maximum winds of 150 mph forecast for Friday morning.

Winds dropping below 58 mph — 2 a.m. Saturday.

Winds dropping below 40 mph — noon Saturday.

Winds dropping below 35 mph — 6 p.m. Saturday.

Source: 18th Wing Weather Flight, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.

— Dave Ornauer

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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.
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