Powerful typhoon approaches Japan’s Okinawa island

TOKYO — The strongest typhoon to approach Okinawa in several years was bearing down on the southern Japanese island on Sunday as residents were told to stay indoors and warned its strong gusts could overturn cars and cause waves of up to 40 feet.

Slow-moving Typhoon Bolaven was centered about 93 miles southeast of Okinawa and was expected to pass over the island Sunday evening, dumping as much as 20 inches of rain over a 24-hour period, weather officials said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said wind speeds near the center of the typhoon were about 112 mph, with extremely strong gusts reaching 155 mph.

Those gusts could knock over telephone poles and even overturn cars, while waves around the island could top 40 feet, public broadcaster NHK warned.

NHK reported two injuries, including a 78-year-old man who was knocked over by winds and cut his forehead. There were no reports of major damage, but some 200 households were without electricity and some 300 people had taken shelter in public buildings, said disaster officials in Okinawa, which has a population of 1.4 million.

All domestic and international flights in and out of Naha Airport, serving the island’s capital, were cancelled.

Gusts from the typhoon could equal or surpass the previous record for Naha of 265 kph (165 mph) winds in a 1956 typhoon, said Tsukasa Uezu, an official with the Okinawa Meteorological Observatory Weather Information Center.

The storm’s relatively slow movement — 15 kph (9 mph) to the northwest — means “exposure to wind and rain will be that much longer,” and raises the possibility of serious damage, said Shun Miygai, an official with the Okinawa Disaster Prevention and Crisis Management Center.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued storm and storm surge warnings in Okinawa prefecture and for high waves in the waters around the island.

More than half the 50,000 U.S. troops based in Japan are stationed in Okinawa. At Kadena Air Base, one of the biggest bases on the island, all shops and service facilities were ordered closed and movement around the base was to be kept to a minimum. All entry into the ocean was prohibited.

The typhoon, the 15th of the season, was expected to continue into the East China Sea and then into the Yellow Sea, possibly affecting southern coastal areas of South Korea by Tuesday, Japanese weather officials said.

Bolaven comes on the heels of Typhoon Tembin, which soaked southern Taiwan on Friday, largely sparing populated areas before blowing out to sea again.

More in Local News

Army nurse from Everett has vivid memories of ‘forgotten war’

Barbara Jean Nichols, 95, served near the front lines in Korea and Vietnam, and in Germany.

In county overdose crisis, nasal spray has saved 100 lives

About 900 local law enforcement officers have been trained to use naloxone to revive opioid users.

Second former student files abuse claim against teacher

The woman says Cascade High School’s Craig Verver had sexual contact with her on campus.

Man arrested after allegedly threatening people near EvCC

The community college was briefly on lockdown Thursday morning.

Edmonds to add bike lanes in two areas

Crews will begin the first phase of work Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Woman injured after losing control of her pickup

A 50-year-old woman was injured Tuesday after her pickup lost… Continue reading

Freshwater invertebrates found in local water bodies

Bryozoans are tiny invertebrates that live in jelly-like masses, and their presence is a good thing.

County executive’s proposed budget avoids most cuts

Highlights of Executive Dave Somers’ proposal include adding deputies and funding programs to ease neighborhood traffic issues.

Most Read