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Typhoon Sinlaku hits Okinawa with full force

Date Posted: 2002-09-14

Typhoon Sinlaku scored a direct hit on Okinawa’s main island 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 heading to Taiwan and China. Sinlaku also dumped 453 mm of much needed rain on the island filling reservoirs and averting the looming possibility of water rationing in the near future.

But Sinlaku also caused considerable damage. A 79-year-old woman died when her house collapsed in Onna Village. 35 people got smaller injuries and 73 houses were broken. A total of 51 people had to seek shelter in community halls. 111,700 households on Okinawa main island were left without power. Telephone lines were down in 2,413 households. Flash floods engulfed houses in Ogimi and Kunigami Villages, and several roads were closed because of landslides. Outer islands suffered damage mostly to agricultural crops.

A Philippine-registered tugboat with a crew of five was reported missing Sep. 4 after first running aground in heavy seas off Sesoko Island in Motobu. A Maritime Self Defense Force patrol aircraft spotted the vessel two days later adrift 146 kms north of Kume Island. All five crew were rescued in good condition.

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