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Typhoon Vongfong weakened to the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday, but Japan's Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa, were still getting hammered by heavy winds before the storm's eye passed over. At least 22 people were injured late Saturday night (Saturday morning ET) by winds that reached 100 miles per hour in areas over Okinawa, according to Stars and Stripes. About 25,000 American troops are at Okinawa's Kadena Air Base, which raised its tropical cyclone readiness to a level 1 — meaning all service members should stay inside, according to a post on the base's Facebook page. Three American servicemen were killed in Okinawa Sunday when they were washed away while taking photos during Typhoon Phanfone, which made landfall as a Category 1.
The eye of Vongfong was 40 miles southeast of Okinawa, moving north-northwest at 10 mph at 11 a.m. ET Saturday, according to the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center. When the storm passes over Okinawa, it is expected to bring relentless winds and rain, and likely produce flash flooding and mudslides in an area already over-saturated by Phanfone, according to Weather.com. Winds are expected to surpass 125 mph — the strongest measured at Kadena Air Base since 2009, Weather.com reported.