Members of the 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, service a KC-135 Stratotanker on Sunday in preparation to evacuate it off of Okinawa in advance of a massive typhoon. (Senior Airman Marcus Morris/Air Force)
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Kadena Air Base, Japan, evacuated all aircraft Sunday in preparation for Supertyphoon Neoguri, expected to hit Okinawa early Tuesday, which is late Monday U.S. time.
“I can’t stress enough how dangerous this typhoon may be when it hits Okinawa,” Brig. Gen. James Hecker, commander of the 18th Wing, said in a message to the Kadena community. “This is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years; we expect damaging winds to arrive by early Tuesday morning.”
The base evacuated all of its aircraft to other bases in the region, and the base is in Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness 1, meaning destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are expected within 12 hours, the base posted in an update on Facebook.
Children are told to stay home, with personnel on base directed to fill any available containers with water and make a final check of food and other supplies.
“This is not just another typhoon. If we follow the typhoon procedures and take care of each other, we will all make it through this typhoon safely,” Hecker said in his message.
Supertyphoon Neoguri is expected to hit Okinawa early Tuesday with sustained winds of 198 kilometers per hour, equivalent to 123 mph and a Category 3 hurricane. The Japan Meterological Agency said the storm could generate waves up to 46 feet high.