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Typhoon Sinlaku threatens Okinawa Friday

Date Posted: 2008-09-10

A typhoon named Sinlaku is bearing down on Okinawa, with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center now predicting a glancing blow as it passes just to the east of the main island.
Sinlaku is a name Okinawans had hoped not to hear this year; Typhoon Sinlaku scored a direct hit on Okinawa’s main island six years ago this week, with its eye moving right across Naha City. Typhoon force winds lashed the island for 72 hours with the strongest winds in Naha measuring 57.9 m/s. The typhoon also affected all outer islands within Okinawa Prefecture before carrying its wrath and destruction to Taiwan and China.
Sinlaku—named after a Micronesian goddess—battered Okinawa, injuring at least 29 people and leaving five Philippine sailors missing. Sinlaku dumped 453mm of much needed rain on the island as 2002 was suffering the worst drought in 113 years. It filled reservoirs and averted a looming possibility of Fall water rationing, something officials are again warning could happen this year.
The 2002 Typhoon Sinlaku left 111,7000 households on Okinawa’s main island without electricity, while downing telephone lines serving 2,413 homes. Flash floods engulfed homes in Ogimi and Kunigami Villages, closing roads because of landslides. In Onna Village, a 79-year-old woman died when her house collapsed; 35 others suffered injuries and 73 homes damaged.
This year’s Typhoon Sinlaku is projected to pass to the east of Okinawa’s main island Friday night and Saturday. As it approaches tomorrow, forecasters are predicting winds of 110 knots (56.6 m/s ~ 126mph), gusting to 135 knots (69.4 m/s ~ 155mph). Officials advise all personnel to be aware of TCCOR conditions in effect.

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