OKINAWA , Japan, July 7 (UPI) -- A typhoon with expected Category 5 hurricane winds is approaching the Japanese island of Okinawa.
Super Typhoon Neoguri is expected to pass to the west of the island, home of U.S. military facilities, Tuesday, but will strike Okinawa with hurricane-class winds nonetheless. "I can't stress enough how dangerous this typhoon may be when it hits Okinawa," Brig. Gen. James Hecker, the Commander of Okinawa's 18th Wing, said on social media Sunday. This is the most powerful typhoon forecast to hit the island in 15 years. This is not just another typhoon. If we all follow the typhoon procedures and take care of each other, we will all make it through this typhoon safely."
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center, an agency of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force, projected that Neoguri will produce sustained winds of up to 165 mph and gusts of up to 200 mph, with ocean waves of up to 39 feet. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued an emergency call Monday for Miyako Jima, an island between Okinawa and Taiwan, warning of a storm surge and high waves. The typhoon is expected to weaken later in the week as it travels over the Japanese mainland, where heavy rainfall has already occurred.