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OKINAWA, Japan — Okinawa residents are being warned to prepare for a massive storm that forecasters say could be the most powerful to hit the island in 13 years.

Typhoon Bolaven was on track to make a direct hit on Okinawa at mid-afternoon Sunday. The Kadena Air Base 18th Wing Weather Flight forecast peak sustained winds of 138 miles per hour and gusts up to 167 mph. On Friday, the storm had winds of 101 mph, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness E (for emergency) was issued at 9 p.m. Sunday for Okinawa.All outdoor activity is prohibited. Stay indoors until the all-clear is sounded.

And it appears as if the island isn’t the only target – the latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center track shows Bolaven skirting the west coast of the Korean peninsula as it charges north through the Yellow Sea.

Showers associated with Bolaven are expected to begin at noon Saturday, with a chance of thunderstorms, so the Osan American-Kadena inter-division inter-league football game scheduled for that day has been canceled. A total of 10 to 15 inches of rain could drench the island.

Residents were told to stock up on food and water and ride out the storm indoors after securing loose objects outside or bringing them indoors.

Super Typhoon Bart walloped the island on Sept. 22, 1999, with winds of 145 mph reported at Kadena and 173 mph at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. It was Okinawa’s fiercest storm since Super Typhoon Faye raked the island with 145 mph winds in September 1957.

For the latest news on Typhoon Bolaven, check out Stars and Stripes’ Pacific Storm Tracker blog.


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