Typhoon moves to skip Okinawa
Stars and Stripes November 28, 2003
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Super typhoon Lupit has decided not to become a Thanksgiving weekend guest on Okinawa.
The storm, forecast earlier this week to churn into Okinawa this weekend, instead will take a more northeasterly track and come no closer than about 370 miles on Sunday, predicted the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.
“However, Okinawa will still experience significant weather due to the influence of this storm, a very rare situation this time of year,” Capt. Tom Tibbetts said Wednesday afternoon. Unusually high winds may be felt Sunday and Monday, added Tibbetts, 18th Weather Flight commander.
Winds will gust from the northeast at about 46 mph, Tibbetts said, adding he was not recommending a change in the typhoon status of military bases on the island.
“These gradient winds will be the result of the interaction of a frontal boundary pushing in from our west and the typhoon approaching from the southeast,” he said. “Okinawa will find itself evenly situated between these two opposing forces — hence the strong winds.
“I am also expecting moderate rain showers and isolated thunderstorms.”
Tibbetts cautioned that Okinawa annually remains in a heightened condition of typhoon readiness through Nov. 30.
“Considering this storm is still a full 950 miles southeast of Okinawa, we still have plenty of time to react in the event the forecast changes,” he said.
The forecast calls for mostly cloudy conditions Friday with isolated showers and a high of 77 degrees, according to the 18th Weather Flight. Rain showers are expected through the weekend.
Lupit, named after the Filipino word for “cruel,” was about 200 miles northwest of Yap on Wednesday with sustained winds of 150 mph, gusting to 185 mph at its center, the typhoon center reported.
It was moving northwest at 4.6 mph but was expected to begin turning sharply northeast late Saturday and decrease in intensity.