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Rains to Continue

Date Posted: 1998-02-28

This winter in Okinawa has been warm and wet and weather forecasters promise much of the same to continue. According to Okinawa Meteorological Observatory, the reason for the warm and wet weather is the continuing weakness of the high pressure front that normally stretches from China and Siberia to Okinawa and brings cool, dry air to the region.

In January, the average temperature was 2.7 degrees centigrade higher than normal reaching 18.7 degrees. The warmest day ever in January was recorded in Kume Island at 27.4 degrees.

Another record set to be broken is the total rainfall in February which by the 20th had reaches 313 mm which is the same as the all-time high for the whole month.

On the other hand, all dams in the prefecture are filled to the capacity. The dams that on February normally stand at 60 percent of the capacity now have to discard excess water into the ocean.

Another good point with the wet weather is that it weakens the annual flu epidemic. Health officials say that the influenza virus doesn't like damp conditions and consequently, people in Okinawa don't get infected.

In Mainland Japan the epidemic has so far claimed 40 lives. 42 of a total of 254 students of Haebaru Junior High School in Okinawa who took part in a field trip to mainland Japan last week were not so lucky. They caught the virus, six of them so severely that they had to be hospitalized. School officials cut the trip short and upon returning to Okinawa, ordered those who had been on the tour to stay home for two extra days in order to avoid infecting others in their school.

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