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Massive Typhoon set to slam Japan and Koreas

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Massive Typhoon set to slam Japan and Koreas

Post  Panda on Sun 26 Aug - 13:12

Massive Typhoon Bolaven set to slam Japan, Koreas

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 26, 2012 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)

Typhoon Bolaven is expected to make landfall near Okinawa on Sunday.


  • NEW: Bolaven is expected to make landfall in Okinawa
  • Storm chaser: Winds on the outskirts of the typhoon are strong enough to uproot trees
  • More than 400,000 people in the area live in elevations between zero and 50 meters
  • Typhoon Bolaven's cloud field is about 20 times the length of Okinawa

Tokyo (CNN) -- The southern Japanese island of Okinawa braced Sunday for a typhoon that measures 20 times the island's length.

Dwarfing the island with winds of up to 215 kilometers per hour (134 mph), Typhoon Bolaven also was on course to hit China and the Korean peninsula. The storm's cloud field is about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) wide.

As of Sunday afternoon, Bolaven was about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Okinawa and was moving northwest at 17 kilometers per hour (11 mph).It was expected to make landfall by 9 p.m. (8 a.m. ET).

Storm chaser James Reynolds, who was waiting out the storm on the northwestern coast of Okinawa, said winds on the outskirts of the typhoon are fierce enough to uproot trees.

"There's no one on the streets in the town which I'm in," Reynolds said. "This is only going to get worse over the next five, six, seven hours, because the storm itself is quite a way offshore."

Storm surges are expected to be a major problem for the Okinawa area. Highways on low-lying barrier islands could be completely washed out, with surges at the coast expected at about 8 meters (26 feet) high.

More than 400,000 people in the area live in elevations less than 50 meters (164 feet).

Still, the infrastructure on Okinawa is designed to withstand violent storms.

"Utility poles are so wide you couldn't even put your arms around them," Reynolds said. "All the houses are built with concrete. There's no such thing as a beach house in Okinawa because it would just get destroyed by a typhoon."

After slamming into Okinawa, the typhoon is forecast to hit the Korean peninsula Tuesday.

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CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri contributed to this report.
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