Worst of typhoon expected to miss Okinawa
Stars and Stripes May 19, 2004
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Typhoon Nida whipped itself to super typhoon status Monday as it continued to churn on a track toward Okinawa.
As of 8 p.m. Monday, the storm was 840 miles southwest of Okinawa with winds gusting to 190 mph near its center. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii plotted the storm moving to the northwest at 13 mph, and making a sharp turn to the northeast as it passes by Luzon in the Philippines by early Tuesday.
Thousands of people were stranded in the eastern Philippines provinces Monday as Nida, a common woman’s name in Thailand, intensified and forced passenger ferries to close. Three fishermen were reported missing, according to news reports.
The super typhoon was expected to swerve to the northeast as it is forced between a subtropical ridge to the southeast and a cold front to the northwest.
“That should push it well away from us,” said Air Force Capt. Aaron J. Williams of the 18th Weather Flight on Kadena Air Base.
Super Typhoon Nida is expected to make its closest approach to Okinawa at 11 p.m. Wednesday some 144 miles to the southeast, Williams said. The strongest winds on Okinawa are expected to be 52 mph at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
All U.S. military bases on Okinawa went into Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 at 8 p.m. Monday, meaning that destructive winds of 57.5 mph or greater were possible within 48 hours and residents should initiate a general clean-up of outside areas around homes and office.
It’s “still a few days away, so we’ll have to wait and see how much wind and rain we get,” said Williams. “Right now I’d say we’d get some borderline rain and winds. But these storms are known to change dramatically from forecast to forecast,” he cautioned. “Being caught between these two major weather systems means anything can happen.”