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Powerful typhoon rumbles over Japanese island of Okinawa

A typhoon packing fierce winds made landfall early Sunday in northeastern Okinawa, on its way to possibly causing havoc in the same region where dozens were killed by a big storm last month.

With an eye that is nearly half the island's length, Typhoon Sanba hit the island around 6:30 a.m. (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday).

The storm has estimated winds of 194 kph (120 mph) and gusts nearing 241 kph (149 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the U.S. military agency responsible for issuing tropical storm warnings in the Pacific Ocean.

The diameter of the storm's eye was nearly half the length of the Japanese island.

People in Okinawa and along the rest of the Ryukyu Island chain took serious precautions ahead of the storm.

The infrastructure on the island is designed to withstand powerful storms, since the island is in an area of the western Pacific Ocean where typhoons are frequent. But storm surge could prove to be a problem for residents.

"It's a large storm, and it's going to have a fairly wide-reaching effect," CNN International weather anchor Jenny Harrison said.

In the city of Ginowan in southern Okinawa on Saturday afternoon, skies were gray with dark clouds in the distance, according to video from CNN iReporter Kathryn Spoor.

Even though it had weakened since Friday when it was briefly classified as a super typhoon, Sanba now has the same intensity as a Category 3 hurricane, meteorologists say.

A Category 3, on a scale of 1 to 5, is a major hurricane with winds ranging from 111 to 129 mph.

The storm is expected to have a far-reaching effect. It could cause serious flooding in the Philippine capital of Manila, for instance.

Sanba is forecast to make a second landfall in mainland South Korea around noon local time Monday. It could also strike southern mainland Japan.

Last month, Typhoon Bolaven killed more than 60 people on the Korean peninsula. Bolaven had also swept over Okinawa, which escaped relatively unscathed.

Powerful typhoon rumbles over Japanese island of Okinawa Powerful typhoon rumbles over Japanese island of Okinawa Reviewed by Adslah Admin on 9:57:00 AM Rating: 5

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