Typhoon Man-yi slams into Okinawa
July 14, 2007
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Typhoon Man-yi unleashed 105 mph gusts on Okinawa on Friday, knocking out water on camps Foster and Lester and electricity on and off base, closing roads near bases, littering the island with debris and dumping more than 10 inches of rain.
The worst storm to hit Okinawa in four years kept U.S. bases in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-E (emergency) until 5:30 p.m. Friday when TCCOR 1-R (recovery) was declared. The TCCOR 1-E lockdown lasted 17½ hours.All-clear was expected to be announced at 5 a.m. on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Japan declared TCCOR 2, while Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Kanto Plain bases near Tokyo entered TCCOR 3 Friday.
The 105 mph winds recorded at Kadena Air Base at 11:44 a.m. Friday were the strongest felt on Okinawa since Typhoon Etau lashed the island with 113 mph gusts on Aug. 6, 2003, according to Capt. Jonathan Wilson, commanding officer of Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight.
Man-yi packed 144 mph sustained winds and 173 mph gusts at its center as it passed 23 miles west of Okinawa at 9 a.m. Friday.
“It wasn’t as bad as it possibly could have been, but it was still pretty bad,” Wilson said.
Sporadic power outages were reported on various bases, officials said. Water was out for all of camps Foster and Lester, and residents were advised on AFN-TV that water would be undrinkable when service resumed until water tests were taken.
A utility pole fell onto Route 330 between Marine Corps Base Headquarters and Kubasaki High School in Kitanakagusuku, scattering electrical lines and closing the road for hours.
Flooding was reported in front of the gate at Fort Buckner on Route 330. Parts of Route 331 in Nago and Ginoza were damaged, Okinawa’s disaster prevention office reported.
Off base, 97,800 homes on Okinawa and its outlying islands were without power. Officials reported 27 people injured, including a 78-year-old Ginowan man who was reported in serious condition after being blown about 20 feet by winds in Okinawa City’s Misato District.
Flooding and damage forced 91 people from their homes. A fishing boat in Awase Bay was overturned and damaged and 14 vehicles were overturned, the disaster prevention office said.
In the south-central part of the island, streets and yards were littered with debris. Whole trees along Routes 329 and 58 were uprooted and blocking sidewalks. Loose limbs, leaves and twigs were scattered everywhere.
Low-lying areas were flooded near Manozamo on the island’s west side.
Still, around 6 p.m., locals could be seen clearing debris from homes, businesses and sidewalks. Some restaurants, laundromats and family marts were already open for business.
More than 375 flights connecting Okinawa to Japan’s main islands, Taiwan and the Philippines were canceled, stranding more than 43,000 passengers, Japan’s NHK public television news reported.
To the north, on the Japanese island of Kyushu, TCCOR-2 was declared for Sasebo at 10 a.m. Friday. At 6 p.m., Man-yi whirled 360 miles south-southwest of Sasebo, churning north-northeast at 15 mph, packing 110-mph sustained winds and 132-mph gusts at its center. Spokesman Chuck Howard said the base was expecting “destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater” starting at mid-day Saturday.
Man-yi was forecast to swirl 102 miles southeast of Sasebo at 4 p.m. Saturday, packing 86-mph sustained winds and 104-mph gusts.
Sasebo had no immediate plans to move ships out of port, Howard said. The USS Essex and USS Juneau were already out at sea, while the USS Guardian, USS Patriot and USS Safeguard would be anchored in the harbor’s safe-haven basin, Howard said.
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni began bracing for 40-mph sustained winds and 58-mph gusts, base spokesman Billy Canedo said. Man-yi was forecast to churn 93 miles southeast of Iwakuni at 11 p.m. Saturday with 81-mph sustained winds and 98-mph gusts.
Aircraft were placed in hangars, tied down or evacuated, recreational watercraft were put in storage and Marine Corps Community Services outlets closed and alcohol sales discontinued, Canedo said.
U.S. Forces Japan issued TCCOR-3 for Kanto bases at 9 a.m. Friday. Man-yi is forecast to blow through Tokyo between 5 and 6 p.m. Sunday, still packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts.
At Yokosuka Naval Base, Commander Destroyer Squadron 15 ordered USS Curtis Wilbur, USS Fitzgerald, USS Lassen, USS McCampbell, USS Mustin and USS Gary out out to sea Friday “as a preventative measure,” spokesman Cmdr. Jensin Sommer said.
Stars and Stripes reporters David Allen, Cindy Fisher, Chris Fowler and Chiyomi Sumida and The Associated Press contributed to this report.