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Typhoon Sanba headed for Okinawa, South Korea

By the CNN Wire Staff
September 14, 2012 -- Updated 2221 GMT (0621 HKT)
Typhoon Bolaven struck Okinawa and South Korea last month.
Typhoon Bolaven struck Okinawa and South Korea last month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Typhoon Sanba has sustained winds of 144 mph near its center
  • It is expected to approach Okinawa late Saturday or early Sunday before heading to South Korea
  • Last month, another large storm killed more than 60 people on the Korea Peninsula

(CNN) -- A typhoon slinging fierce winds moved north Saturday toward the Japanese island of Okinawa, on a track to hit the Korean Peninsula, where dozens of people were killed by a big storm last month.

Tropical cyclone Sanba had winds of 232 kilometers per hour (144 mph), said CNNI Weather Anchor Jenny Harrison. "One expects and assumes that people are beginning to already take serious precautions as to the arrival of this very strong typhoon," she said.

She predicted that storm surge could prove to be a problem for islanders. "It's a large storm and it's going to have a fairly wide-reaching effect," she said. "Okinawa is pretty much in the path of this storm."

The storm had been, "for a very short time," classified as a "super typhoon," with winds of more than 241 mph (150 mph), she said.

Typhoon tourism: One week in North Korea

Fishermen drown during Typhoon Bolaven

Sanba is expected to approach Okinawa late Saturday or early Sunday local time before trudging on toward South Korea, according to projections from regional weather agencies. It is forecast to gradually weaken as it moves north.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency on Friday classified Sanba's scale as "large" and intensity as "violent."

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

North Korea rebuffs typhoon aid offer from South

The infrastructure on Okinawa is designed to withstand powerful storms, since the island is in an area of the western Pacific Ocean where typhoons are frequent.

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