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Strong twister wreaks havoc in Okinawa City

Date Posted: 2002-04-05

An unusually strong tornado ripped off trees and destroyed some roofs as it proceeded on its path from north of Kadena Air Base through Noborikawa and Gushikawa City. According to Okinawa Meteorological Observatory, the twister created winds gusting 50 to 69 m/s. Previously, a tornado of similar strength was observed on Miyako Island in 1966. Officials at the observatory say that the tornado started around the South East Botanical Gardens where it blew off two roofs, one of them landing on Camp Shields. One Noborikawa resident said that the tornado struck completely unexpected. “I was walking in my yard and suddenly this very strong wind come up from nowhere and things started to fly. The wind ripped the roof off my storage shed and I saw someone’s water tank flying higher than utility poles. It was very frightening,” he said.

According to Okinawa City police, nine cars were thrown upside down in and around Camp Shields. 19 cars were dented by a flying debris in Gushikawa City and some 900 residences were left without electricity in Okinawa City. The twister also caused severe damage to commercial flower gardens that were on its path.

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