Members of the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron clear the street of fallen debris from Typhoon Jelawat on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 29, 2012. The typhoon battered the island with sustained winds of 85 mph causing several injuries on base and significant damage to base property. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Justin Veazie)
Pieces of a shed and other debris line the streets of Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 1, 2012. The debris is a result Typhoon Jelawat, which had winds that exceeded 135 mph, and it's eye hit approximately 10 miles from Kadena AB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Brooke P. Beers)
by Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins
18th Wing Public Affairs
10/2/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Despite predictions from various weather sources that Typhoon Jelawat would overlook Okinawa, Kadena was pounded with an estimated 23 inches of heavy rain fall for nearly 24 hours and experienced sustained winds greater than 85 mph last weekend.
"Initially, the typhoon was expected to flow into China," explained Capt. Matthew Klick, 18th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight officer in charge.
The storm then shifted its course to the north, heading toward Okinawa with a forecasted track just south of the island.
"The storm was initially supposed to go to the south, which would have caused winds similar to Typhoon Sanba two weeks ago," he added.
As Typhoon Jelawat crept in closer to the island, its track shifted further north - putting its eye almost on top of Kadena.
"Since it shifted to the north, we knew we were going to receive more significant winds," said Klick.
Typhoon Jelawat was the seventh storm to affect Okinawa this year, with the eye of the storm passing approximately 10 miles from Kadena Saturday morning.
Compared to previous typhoons this year, damage to facilities and homes base-wide were significantly greater, said Lt. Col. Bryan Opperman, 18th Civil Engineering Squadron commander.
"We are still developing an estimate on the cost, but we expect the cost to creep into the millions," said Opperman.
Not only were unsecured items an issue for possible damage, but debris, cars and dumpsters also became lethal projectiles as the storm's wind gusts exceeded 135 mph.
"This typhoon was a lot stronger than recent ones, so there's a lot more damage. It's going to take more time to get the base recovered," said Opperman. "We appreciated people's patience and understanding."
Once Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 1-Recovery was declared Sunday morning, teams from U.S. military installations island-wide headed out to assess the damage and restore power to facilities across the bases.
"We publicize across the community about securing outdoor items and ask residents to accomplish this promptly in (Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2) so there are less projectiles to damage homes and property," explained Lt. Col. Mona Tenorio, 718th Civil Engineering Squadron commander. "We also appreciate our housing occupants' patience as we work to perform repairs to our housing areas across Okinawa."
Base housing residents across Okinawa can report damage caused by the typhoon by calling the Housing Maintenance Customer Service at 634-HOME (4663).