Typhoon Trami, once a Super Typhoon with sustained winds of more than 150 mph, has weakened. However, it remains powerful as it moves sluggishly through the Philippine Sea, taking aim at Japan, home to more than 125,000,000 people.
As of late Thursday evening (Japan time) the Joint Typhoon Warning Center rated Trami a Category 2 with winds of nearly 105 mph. The center at that time was located about 250 miles south of Okinawa, part of the Ryukyu Islands, population around 1,500,000 people. The storm’s been trudging along at only 6 mph, but is expected to pick up speed and is on track to make a direct hit on Okinawa, or close to one, on Saturday. By then it could be packing stronger Category 3 winds of 111-129 mph.
According to the Stars and Stripes website, U.S. air bases on Okinawa have entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness (TCCOR) level 1. This means destructive winds of at least 58 mph are expected within 12 hours (by Friday morning local time). Kadena Air Base confirms this on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
After hitting the Ryukyu Islands, Trami is forecast to move across the large islands of Japan from early Sunday morning through Sunday night (local time), weakening a bit after landfall. However, people still should prepare for power outages, and flooding and mudslides will also be dangers resulting from the storm
The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued Warnings for high waves for the Ryukyu Islands, as well as Advisories for winds, thunderstorms, and storm surge. Similar Advisories have been issued for the large islands. No Emergency Warnings have been issued as of late Thursday evening (local time).
Japan is home to several large container ports that are in the potential path of Typhoon Trami. Two of them are among the top 50 in the world with respect to TEU volume. Keihin Ports, a superport hub on the Tokyo Bay that includes Kawasaki, Tokyo, and Yokohama, is ranked 29th by The World Shipping Council. Also in the path is Hanshin Ports, a hub on Osaka Bay that is ranked 29th. Trami could cause damage to these and other ports, disrupting business for a period of time.
However, now that the track is much clearer than a few days ago, vessels can safely adjust their routes with more confidence.
This all comes after Typhoon Cimaron damaged parts of western Japan in late August of this year, injuring more than a dozen people, according to the Japan Times.