Typhoon Saola's eye not expected to make landfall in Japan
Typhoon Saola wasn’t expected to be a major player at U.S. military bases in Japan, but the storm could still deliver gusty winds and up to 4 inches of rain in some areas, forecasters predicted Saturday.
Yokosuka Naval Base and Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station remained in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 — meaning winds of 58 mph or greater were possible within 48 hours — while all installations on Tokyo’s Kanto Plain slipped back into a storm-watch status Friday afternoon as forecast models showed Saola making a sharp right turn over the Western Pacific Ocean and tracking south of Tokyo Bay.
The eye will remain over open water and not make landfall, according to Tech. Sgt. Arnold Ascano, the lead meteorologist for the 20th Operational Weather Squadron at Yokota Air Base. The typhoon was expected to pass within 110 miles of Yokosuka by 7 p.m. Sunday evening, with winds and rain coming earlier, and then quickly veer to the northeast.
“The further east the storm moves, the less winds we’ll get,” Ascano said. “We don’t anticipate going to any further TCCOR warnings at this point.”
At 6 a.m. Saturday, Saola was 360 miles south-southwest of Tokyo, moving north-northwest at 9 mph and packing maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, gusting to 125 mph.
Rain began falling Saturday morning as the storm’s outer bands crept into the Tokyo area from the south. Ascano said heavier precipitation was anticipated Sunday morning, with 2 to 4 inches of rain predicted for all U.S. military bases.
Yokosuka and Iwakuni could get 40-mph winds — with gusts to 60 mph — with other locations on the Kanto Plain topping out at 40 mph, he added. By midnight Sunday, Saola was expected to be entirely over open water and not affecting Japan at all.
Misawa Air Base in northern Japan could get some clouds and light drizzle, but winds and heavy rainfall associated with the storm should not affect the area, Ascano said.
Yokosuka officials planned to meet at 9 a.m. Saturday to determine whether further preparations were necessary, according to Hanako Tomizuka, a base spokeswoman. No ships had been moved out of port by Friday afternoon.
Typhoon Saola is the third storm to threaten the Kanto Plain this year.