Isaac Disrupts Republican Convention, Bolaven Threatens U.S. Military in Okinawa (Updated)
27 Aug. 7:00 p.m. EST.
A GOES-13 infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Isaac provided by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Monterey, Calif., shows the storm at 7:00 p.m. EST. Isaac is expected to strengthen into a hurricane and impact the Gulf Coast of the United States Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
And, hopefully, the last update on Bolaven from the Stars and Stripes:
9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, Korea time: Everything on the Korean peninsula’s west coast is pretty much buttoned up, and with good reason: Typhoon Bolaven is making its way through the Yellow Sea (or West Sea) even as I type this, lashing the coast with southerly 58- to 69-mph wind gusts. Forecasts also call for 4 to 6 inches of rain through the evening as Bolaven crashes ashore long North Korea’s west coast just around sunset.
Bolaven should remain a Category 1 typhoon as it rumbles past Kunsan Air Base 90 miles west around high noon. It next passes 110 miles west of Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys around 4 p.m., then 106 miles west of Yongsan Garrison at 6 p.m. before making landfall.
Best advice is to stay indoors and wait for any all-clear to be announced. Everything from the schools to the PX and commissary to base shuttled to dining facilities are pretty much closed, so break out the DVDs for a movie marathon, or board games, something to pass the time. Even after the storm has passed, if you venture outside, be careful of downed power lines and flash floods.
Down south around Okinawa, one may think Bolaven hasn’t gotten quite through with the island; some rumors had the storm turning around and heading back. Not the case. Tropical Storm Tembin, still active just off the coast of Taiwan, will next make its way into the Yellow Sea, but as a moderate to severe tropical storm over the next few days. Expect some gusty winds and a few showers as Tembin heads north toward forecast landfall around midnight along the North Korea-China border.
Unless things change drastically with either storm, PST will sign off for now.
As Bolaven moves away from Okinawa without hitting the island as hard as had been feared (Stars and Stripes: “[S]ome 60,000 residences and offices lost power off-base. More than two days of flights into and out of Naha International Airport, including Sunday’s entire slate, were canceled) it is now moving towards Korea and U.S, military facilities.
Edited/Added: The Stars and Stripes does report that Bolaven regrettably injured five people.
The Stripes reports:
As suspected, all [Department of Defense] schools in Korea will shut down, no activities, no classes, no sports, as a precaution in advance of Tuesday’s anticipated arrival of Typhoon Bolaven, which is rapidly losing its punch but is forecast to hit the Yellow Sea (or West Sea) as a severe tropical storm or Category 1-equivalent storm.
Forecasts are still calling for wind gusts between 58 and 69 mph with 10 to 12 inches of rain. Thus, services at the various garrisons and air bases up and down the peninsula will be limited or closed completely.
Bolaven will still be packing 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at its center Tuesday as it veers 77 miles west of Kunsan Air Base at 1 p.m., 90 miles west of Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys at 5 p.m. and 85 miles west of Yongsan Garrison at 6 p.m. Landfall is forecast for 7 p.m. just south of Pyongyang, and Bolaven is forecast to remain a powerful tropical storm all the way into eastern China Wednesday afternoon.
For latest update, click here
Previous Update from the Stars and Stripes
8:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, Japan time: Satellite imagery shows Typhoon Bolaven starting to cross the north part of the island over Nago, Okinawa’s second-largest city on its northwest coast.
Camp Schwab and Okuma Recreation Center are in the crosshairs and should experience heavy winds on the front and back side of the eye, which should hang over both places for about an hour. Incredibly, Camp Hansen, just to the southwest of each locale, is reporting winds of about 50 mph.
Knock on wood, the U.S. bases further south could get a huge break, assuming Bolaven’s back-side bands are as benign as the ones in front. That said, we are FAR from out of the woods. Hang tight and be safe!
It might seem relatively calm out there, but current winds at Kadena Air Base are 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph. Maximum winds were 46-mph sustained and 69-mph gusts earlier. And the worst, indeed, is yet to come.
Typhoon Bolaven’s eye is almost on top of us, though the worst of the storm appears to be headed over the north part of Okinawa. Still, this is no time to relax. Damaging Category 3-equivalent winds are still in the cards for the island, this evening until early tomorrow morning.
Here’s the latest forecast wind timeline from Kadena’s 18th Wing Weather Flight:
– Sustained 40-mph winds and greater, now.
– Sustained 58-mph winds or greater, 9 p.m. Sunday.
– Maximum 132-mph winds and 161-mph gusts, 9 p.m. Sunday.
– Winds diminishing below 58-mph, 4 a.m. Monday.
– Winds diminishing below 40-mph, 11 a.m. Monday.
– Winds diminishing below 35 mph, 3 p.m. Monday.
Don’t be fooled by the relative calm some areas are feeling. This is still a very dangerous storm. Down south where the majority of U.S. bases are, might get lucky, but up north, at least, it’s going to be a battle.
Sasebo Naval Base in southwestern Japan should feel some outer effects from Bolaven. Tuesday’s forecast calls for peak winds Monday morning into Tuesday morning, east-southeast shifting southeast at 20- to 30-mph sustained with 45-mph gusts. Unless Bolaven shifts drastically east, issuing of TCCORs probably isn’t in the cards.
As for Korea, Bolaven will remain a significant Category 2-equivalent typhoon (115-mph sustained, 143-mph gusts) as it thunders into the Yellow Sea, gradually diminishing to Cat 1-equivalent strength (92-mph sustained, 115-mph gusts) as it makes landfall around mid-afternoon Tuesday 71 miles west of Seoul. Bolaven is forecast to rumble 80 miles west of Kunsan Air Base around 10 a.m. and Osan Air Base around 2 p.m. Expect southerly winds gusting to 65 mph with between 7 to 9 inches, officials say.
While Republican Convention goers are effectively cancelling the first day of activities due to approaching tropical storm and hurricane-to-be Isaac, people on the other side of the world, including our military in Okinawa, are making preparations for what could be the most powerful typhoon to hit the island in 13 years.
According to the Stars and Stripes, on Friday, Typhoon Bolaven was on track to make a direct hit on Okinawa at mid-afternoon Sunday with forecast peak sustained winds of 138 miles per hour and gusts up to 167 mph.
On Friday already, the storm had winds of 101 mph, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
As the weekend continued, from the Stripes:
Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness [TCCOR] 2 (“Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 24 hours — Remove or secure all outside items”) was issued at 2:20 a.m. Saturday for Okinawa. 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.
And here is the latest on Typhoon Bolaven:
9:15 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, Japan/Korea time: Shouldn’t be long before the big lock-in begins. Damaging winds of 58 mph or greater are now forecast for noon Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday by Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight as Typhoon Bolaven continues to track toward Okinawa. Closest point of approach of 26 miles northeast by 8 p.m. is forecast by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Okinawa remains in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-C; expect that to change around noon. Please check with PST or your local command’s official Web page or Facebook page for the latest; we’ll try to post any TCCOR change as soon as we have it.
Check the latest on Bolaven here