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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Typhoon Sinlaku slowed and jogged away from Okinawa on Thursday, with the storm now forecast to make its closest approach some 213 miles northwest of the island Monday morning.

The strongest winds over Okinawa were expected to be 35 mph, gusting to 46 mph from 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday, said 18th Weather Flight commander Capt. J. Brandon Alexander.

However, the storm could dump a couple of inches of much-needed rain before it leaves the area, Alexander said.

"With the size and strength of this storm, Okinawa will likely see thunderstorms through the weekend with winds gusting to 35 knots (45 mph) beginning (Friday) afternoon," he said.

He did not foresee the island’s military bases going beyond Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2. The bases went into TCCOR 3 Wednesday afternoon.

"But it definitely will be wet and windy," he said.

On Thursday afternoon, the storm was drifting toward Miyako Island, southwest of Okinawa. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecast the storm to turn to the northwest by evening.

"We can expect at least 2 to 3 inches of rain this weekend, with higher amounts possible if the storm begins to track closer to Okinawa," he said.

Alexander warned Okinawa residents of being too complacent about the latest forecast.

"Typhoon Sinlaku can now be classified as an ‘erratic mover,’ which is common during situations with weak or competing steering mechanisms," he said. "This could create a situation where TCCOR changes could be required with little notice."

He suggested island residents "continue to make preparations such as stocking typhoon kits, prepping sandbags and bringing in loose outdoor items."

Alexander predicted Sinlaku will weaken significantly as it passes over mainland Japan by midweek.


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