TOKYO — U.S. military bases in Japan were on alert Friday as Typhoon Phanfone headed for the region, threatening torrential rains and gusty winds by late Sunday. The storm system, which is officially known as "18W," was packing maximum sustained winds of 112 mph and was moving northwest across the western Pacific Ocean at about 14 mph, according to an update from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) at 6 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) Friday. Japan’s Meteorological Center said the storm was “pretty strong” and posed a risk of heavy rain.
“U.S. bases on Okinawa remain in Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Storm Watch, as does Naval Air Facility Atsugi in the Kanto Plain,” according to a Stars and Stripes blog post tracking the typhoon’s progress. The Yokosuka base on the Japanese mainland said it was also on alert. Organizers of Japan’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday at Suzuka, near Nagoya on the country’s east coast, said they were monitoring the typhoon closely.
- Alastair Jamieson and Arata Yamamoto