Typhoon leaves a mess on Okinawa bases, heads toward mainland

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Typhoon leaves a mess on Okinawa bases, heads toward mainland

by: Dave Ornauer | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: September 30, 2012

5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, Japan time: Jelawat was downgraded to a tropical storm by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in its 40th warning on the storm, marking Jelawat’s 10-day birthday.

Jelawat still is prowling offshore south of Honshu, but is expected to make landfall near Nagoya later this evening, then begin to shear apart as it interacts with land.

3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, Japan time: Okinawa resumed seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4. Hazardous conditions and winds no longer present; return to normal duties.

1:45 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, Japan time: Jelawat has remained a strong Category 1-equivalent typhoon, packing 75-mph sustained winds and 92-mph gusts as it moves northeast like a rocket sled on rails at 30 mph toward landfall just west of Hamamatsu later this afternoon.

All U.S. Kanto Plain bases are now in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1. Camp Fuji should see the worst of it, a near-direct hit at around 7 p.m. The remaining Kanto bases should be slightly southeast of Jelawat’s trajectory, but forecasts at Yokosuka Naval Base still call for 35- to 45-mph sustained winds and 60-mph gusts tonight into early Monday morning.

9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, Japan time: Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch declared for Okinawa. Storm moving away from island but still being watched in case destructive winds return.

Now that Okinawa’s finished getting ravaged by its worst tropical cyclone since Man-yi on July 13, 2007, the Kanto Plain is bracing to be Typhoon Jelawat’s next visitor.

  12:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, Japan time: Now that Okinawa’s finished getting ravaged by its worst tropical cyclone since Man-yi on July 13, 2007, the Kanto Plain is bracing to be Typhoon Jelawat’s next visitor. All U.S. bases in the Kanto Plain are in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2; that will change later this morning.

It won’t be a typhoon by the time it reaches U.S. bases in the Kanto, but Jelawat will still be a significant tropical storm as it roars through the area.

9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, Japan time: U.S. bases on Okinawa entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-R (recovery) at 8 p.m., and it appears as if it will stay that way until at least tomorrow morning due to the amount of damage sustained on base.

According to an 18th Wing public affairs office message on its Facebook page, there is much debris, downed power lines and even vehicles flipped on the roads and in parking lots.

Be sensible and don’t go outside. Security Forces will be checking for recovery team passes. If you must go outside, do so carefully and only around your house. Stay off the roads until TCCOR Storm Watch is declared.

Recovery teams will focus on securing dangerous conditions, including downed power lines; getting power restored on base; cleaning up debris from roads and paths; and recovering aircraft to meet operational requirements.

The 18th Wing command asks everyone’s patience during recovery operations to ensure we all get back to normal safely.

Okinawa’s most severe winds were 87-mph sustained and 137-mph gusts at 1:23 p.m. Saturday.

Jelawat has now begun its express bee-line run toward the Kanto Plain. Landfall is expected sometime early Sunday evening over Hamamatsu in central Honshu, with a near-direct pass over Yokota forecast for around 10 p.m. Winds should still be somewhat hairy, 58-mph sustained and 69-mph gusts at Yokota,  Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Camps Fuji and Zama. Yokosuka Naval Base forecasts 35- to 45-mph sustained winds and 55-mph gusts overnight Sunday into Monday.

3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, Japan time: Wow. To say this storm is fierce doesn’t begin to describe it. The PHOTOS from around the island on Facebook and other venues are just eye-popping. Cars blown over onto their sides or tops. Tree limbs and power lines blown over, satellite dishes bent into the shape of tacos. Nasty stuff, to say the least. Kadena Air Base reported the most fierce winds at 74 mph sustained with 111-mph gusts, though it sure felt worse in some areas. Jelawat passed 9 miles north of Kadena at 11:08 a.m.

The good news, the worst should soon be over for the folks on Okinawa, and Jelawat should next begin an express beeline journey toward the Kanto Plain. Fleet Activities Yokosuka plans to set Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2 at 4 p.m. and other U.S. bases will likely do the same in advance of the storm. Jelawat should pass northwest of those bases around mid-evening Sunday, packing sustained 58-mph winds and 69-mph gusts, just below typhoon strength but still pretty powerful.On Okinawa, expect winds to diminish below 58 mph around 5 p.m., below 40 mph around 9 p.m. and below 40 mph around 3 a.m.
Especially with the damage we’ve seen in photos and video, do NOT venture outside during TCCOR 1-R (recovery). Assessment teams will be out surveying the damage and repair crews will be carting off debris and putting things back in place for awhile. Wait for Storm Watch to be issued before heading anywhere. Be smart and be safe!