Just days after Typhoon Phanfone left three American servicemen dead on Japan’s Okinawa Island, Typhoon Vongfong is pushing toward the island for a tropical curtain call that U.S. military officials are taking seriously, says weather.com.
About 50,000 American troops are stationed in Japan, and nearly half of them are on Okinawa, the Associated Press reports. With the center of Vongfong expected to pass within 100 miles of Okinawa, military bases are preparing for major impacts to their base.
“There is no question that (Vongfong) is an extremely large, extremely powerful typhoon,” a Japan Meteorological Agency official told Reuters. “It’s the strongest storm we’ve had this year, definitely, although it has lost some strength from its peak.”
All non-emergency personnel will remain inside until the storm has passed, according to a post on the air base’s Facebook page.
According to Stars and Stripes, servicemen and women at Kadena Air Base have been told to discontinue all outdoor activities with Vongfong nearby. Many base facilities have closed to hunker down for the storm, the report added.
Areas of Japan have received massive amounts of rainfall in past months, and the slow, plodding nature of Vongfong could raise the risk of deadly landslides and flooding yet again, Reuters added.
Preparations took a serious tone after last week’s tragedy on the base. Three airmen were killed by the raging seas off the coast of Okinawa in the wake of Typhoon Phanfone. The bodies of all three men have been recovered.
To the southeast of Okinawa, residents on the island of Minami Daitojima were seen in television broadcasts making final preparations for the storm, Reuters reported. Government officials met Friday to plan for recovery once the storm passes, but officials had wise words for the island’s citizens in the meantime.
“We are calling on all citizens to pay close attention to weather reports and respond promptly if the authorities advise them to evacuate,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, according to Reuters.
The report also mentioned that nearby islands Kyushu and Shikoku have a combined three nuclear power plants, and all three have been halted as Vongfong approaches.