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Typhoon turns pure wimp; Avoids strike on Okinawa

Date Posted: 2004-06-24

Everyone braced for Typhoon Daimuís scheduled visit to Okinawa last weekend, only to wake up Saturday morning and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Preparations were made and the island braced for the super typhoon, which was forecast to first pound Yaeyama Islands, then Miyako Island, then the main Okinawa island. The powerful winds did climb to 173 miles per hour at its center, but the typhoon took a last minute jog to the east, sparing Okinawa damage.

Still, it shut down the airport and grounded planes, sent ships out to see, and busses, shops and offices were closed and events cancelled. There was some power down, and a few telephone lines short circuited.

Tomari Bridge in Naha was one of several shut down after winds exceeded 21 meters per second. The wooden gate was closed to traffic but still drew trouble. A 29-year-old man riding a motorcycle wasnít attentive, and crashed into the barrier. He suffered serious injuries, including head trauma and two broken legs. At last report, he was still unconscious.

Most of Typhoon Daimuís wrath was restricted to one of the outer islands. Some 400 homes on Daitou Island, south of Okinawa lost power and 266 telephones quit working.

As the typhoon passed, an unusual foggy weather settled over Okinawa Sunday and Monday, reducing visibility to three kilometers or less.

The Weather Service says dust stayed in the air and mixed with salt water from the ocean, mixing and lingering because of a lack of winds. The foggy weather stretched south to Miyako and Ishigaki Islands. On those islands RAC commuter planes were grounded because of reduced visibility, and even on the roadways drivers were finding it a slow go.

The weather specialists recommend that people wash their cars, bicycles and motorcycles to reduce salt damage and rust caused by the fog and mist which blanketed the islands.

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