Super Typhoon Songda ripped across the western Pacific on Thursday, dropping heavy rain on the Philippines and threatening Okinawa and the Japanese main islands with rain and damaging winds into the weekend.
Songda was a Category 5 storm late Thursday, with maximum sustained winds of 161 mph and gusts of 195 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The storm was producing wave heights of 38 feet in the Pacific, forecasters said.
The forecast track for Songda put it over Okinawa on Saturday night as a Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 109 mph and gusts up 132 mph.
Okinawa is home to several U.S. military installations, including Kadena Air Base, home to nearly 18,000 Americans, and Camp Courtney, home of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and its 16,000 Marines, according to U.S. Forces Japan.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said Songda would lose strength but still be a strong storm as it approaches the country's main islands Sunday.
A dip in the jet stream was forecast to weaken Songda and push it toward the northeast and away from Taiwan and China, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
Meanwhile, officials in the Philippines breathed a sigh of relief after being spared a direct hit from Songda, named Chedeng in the Philippines.
â€śPrayers do work!â€ť was the first sentence of a press release from the Philippine Information Agency.
Philippine officials had ordered the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from coastal areas or areas prone to landslides in heavy rainfall, but the information agency said most of those orders would soon be lifted. A ban on all activity in the Pacific remained, it said.
The Philippines would not be spared wet weather, however. Robert S. Sawi of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the typhoon would help usher in the rainy season, with heavy rains expected through the weekend, according to the Philippines News Agency.
Is it bringing tacos ? Tacos are good in stormy weather.
Wow what a year 2011 is shaping up to be!
Has anyone else noticed that since after '98 weather has been getting much worse?
I noticed it's getting warmer and warmer since the last ice age....
One word – +FUKUSHIMA+ %o!!
Fukushima is in Mainland not on the island of Okinawa......
We have seen alot of extreme weather it is something its also one of the biggest killers of man its just little you can do except run or hunker down and see how you fair its very humbling when the weather turns nasty. Prays do work.
Everyone knows the largest killer of man is terrorism, not weather.. Didn't you read George W. Bush's book? Even Obama seems to agree..
What, no end of the world comments?! You guys must be the intelligent group.
Will this affect my friday night sushi night... .?
There's two main opinions as to what may be causing the extreme weather:
1. Global warming (Due to humans or not, though the evidence seems overwhelming for humans to have caused the extreme results we're seeing. Don't just listen to media and third-hand knowledge, read up about it yourself.)
2. God's discovered burritos
Either way, we need to deal with it. We can ask all the Muslims, Christians and Jews to beg god to stop eating burritos as we transition to using renewable energy, otherwise we've only got a handful of generations left.
The world will end soon. There are just too much people on earth so God has to clean house and one way is by weather.
Quakes, a tsunami, nuke meltdowns, and now it's a freaking typhoon?
its the beginning of typhoon season here
â€śPrayers do work!â€ť??? Wow. In the 21st Century... Wow...
Still believe in human sacrifices, too?
Don't know how much more Japan can take....
Everyone in Okinawa is safe, there was quite some damage left behind but from the looks of it its not too bad!
Prayers do work! And according to meterologists it is indeed the commencement of typhoon season!