The commissary at Osan Air Base, South Korea, was busy as shoppers made last-minute purchases ahead of Tropical Storm Khanun on Aug. 10, 2023.

The commissary at Osan Air Base, South Korea, was busy as shoppers made last-minute purchases ahead of Tropical Storm Khanun on Aug. 10, 2023. (Christopher Green/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — U.S. military bases in Japan and South Korea are preparing for strong winds and heavy rains as two storms take separate aim on each country.

Japan was watching a western Pacific typhoon approaching central Honshu, the largest of the four main islands, with landfall expected west of the greater Tokyo area by Tuesday.

In South Korea, Tropical Storm Khanun made landfall just west of Busan, South Korea, around 10 a.m. Thursday and was northbound over the Korean Peninsula, weakening as it goes, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The storm brought strong winds and torrential rains that closed highways, prompted evacuations and stopped air and rail travel.

Khanun was expected to pass 25 miles west of Daegu, 84 miles east of Kunsan Air Base and about 30 miles east of Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys on Thursday afternoon and evening.

The U.S. Army Daegu Garrison and South Korea’s Busan Naval Base were in an emergency status on the Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness scale, with winds of 57 mph blowing or anticipated, according to a Defense Department alert at 11:44 a.m. Thursday.

Daegu Garrison, roughly 50 miles inland of South Korea’s southern coast, shut down some services but reopened at 10 a.m., according to the base’s Facebook page.

A typhoon emergency indicates destructive winds are blowing. Phone use should be limited to emergencies.

Farther north, the Army’s Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek city were in typhoon readiness condition one, with 57 mph winds expected within 12 hours.

Some services in Humphreys, such as passport issuance and driver testing, were operating with limited staff, according to the base’s official Facebook page.

Nonessential military vehicles were prohibited from traveling on Humphreys and Daegu’s roads and drivers were advised to use caution.

Typhoon Lan

Japan was tracking Typhoon Lan, which strengthened from a tropical storm to a typhoon with sustained winds of 75 mph and 92-mph gusts at its center.

Lan, about 760 miles southeast of Tokyo on Thursday, was expected to make landfall early Tuesday morning about 50 miles west of the metro area, according to the warning center’s forecast.

Yokosuka Naval Base, the U.S. 7th Fleet’s homeport south of Tokyo, along with Camp Zama, headquarters of U.S. Army Japan, Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo all lie along the storm’s projected path.

“Yokosuka is closely tracking Tropical Storm Lan,” naval base spokesman Justin Keller told Stars and Stripes via email Thursday.

At Yokosuka, business went on as usual Thursday, but the base expects to be in typhoon readiness condition four on Friday, he said. In condition four, destructive winds are expected within 72 hours. People in the storm path should have a three days’ supply of nonperishable food items, including food for pets, and other vital supplies.

“So now is the time to not only ensure they are stocked up on water, food and supplies but it’s also time to start securing loose items outdoors and conducting general cleanup to reduce flying debris as winds increase,” Keller said.

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Kelly Agee is a reporter and photographer at Yokota Air Base, Japan, who has served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years. She is a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program alumna and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Her previous Navy assignments have taken her to Greece, Okinawa, and aboard the USS Nimitz.

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