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110 mph Typhoon Lashes Island

Date Posted: 2000-08-11

Typhoon Jelawat passed right over Okinawa’s main island on Monday and Tuesday. The slow moving whirlwind blew at up to 41.1 m/s or 110 mph, but didn’t cause much damage.

The center of the typhoon passed right over Nago City. As the storm covered a rather small area of 100 km in diameter, the southern densely populated parts of the island including Naha City escaped any serious damage

The strongest winds measured in Naha City were 34.5 m/s. In Agarie, Nago City, the winds demolished a prefab warehouse that collapsed over a street forcing its temporary closure. Ten thousand buildings also lost electricity. Officials expect power to be restored sometime tonight.

Two people walking on the street were slightly hurt in Mihama by flying debris from palm trees. As Jelawat continued to move west at snail’s pace, the strong winds experienced in Okinawa continued for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile twenty eight thousand tourists and other travellers were stranded in Okinawa by typhoon Jelewat, which caused the cancellation of more than 100 flights to and from Naha Airport. Most of the stranded tourists stayed in hotels and inns in Naha, with some of them opting to rough it in the airport terminal. People staying at the airport fared much better than in the past, as the new airport terminal is much larger than the old one. There are also several convenience stores that stayed open 24 hours during the typhoon, so stranded passengers could buy food and daily necessities while waiting for flights to resume.

Another problem caused by the typhoon was accumulating trash, as residents stayed inside their houses and apartments. Because of the weather, local garbage collectors were unable to make their regular rounds and municipal officials responsible for rubbish collection urged people not to bring their trash out while the typhoon still raged.

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