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Thunderstorms soak island, water rationing postponed

Date Posted: 2002-06-23

Torrential rains inundated Okinawa City and Naha areas over the weekend, but the rainfall largely missed areas where it had been most useful, the northern part of the island where most of the dams are located.

In Okinawa City a thunderstorm dumped over 100 mm of rain in about 20 minutes causing water to rise above the floor level in 14 houses. Water also blocked Hwy 23 in Yamauchi where eight cars stopped in a pool of water and police had to direct the traffic to an alternative route. The storm also prevented scheduled flights from landing at Naha Airport where they had to circle above the clouds until the storm moved on.

All in all Okinawa City got 180 mm of rain while Naha recorded 130 mm, Kume Island 146 mm and Tokashiki Island 149 mm. On the other hand the northern part of the island received much less precipitation: in Oku 36 mm, Nago City 43 mm and Higashi Village 29 mm. In Fukuchi Dam the water level went up only 0.6 percent.

That changed on Sunday when the storms hit the northern part of Okinawa, and the dams filled to 65.1 percent of their capacity, up from 52 percent last week. That prompted the Okinawa Prefecture Water Shortage Committee to postpone the water rationing measures it had decided a week ago to enact. The committee will monitor the situation and decide later if and when to begin the rationing.

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