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Typhoon Jelawat jumps Japan's island of Okinawa

By Ben Brumfield, CNN
September 29, 2012 -- Updated 1805 GMT (0205 HKT)
Effects of typhoon Jelawat overturn a vehicle in Naha City, Okinawa prefecture.
Effects of typhoon Jelawat overturn a vehicle in Naha City, Okinawa prefecture.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "Jumpin' Jelawat" pummels Okinawa, injuring at least 50 people
  • NEW: More than 270,000 households are powerless on Okinawa
  • A U.S. base on Okinawa posts pictures from the storm
  • Strong winds have overturned vehicles

(CNN) -- At least 50 people were injured and 271,400 households rendered without power after Typhoon Jelawat struck Okinawa island of Japan, disaster officials there said Saturday.

As the storm roared toward other Japanese islands, three people were injured in the southernmost part of Kyushu, the Disaster Management Office of the Kagoshima prefectural government said.

The typhoon is expected to strike the Japanese mainland Sunday.

The latest typhoon to hit the region in recent weeks, Jelawat is a "very strong" storm with maximum sustained winds near the center of just over 100 mph (165 km/h), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. A NASA advisory said the cyclone was comparable to a category 3 hurricane.

Typhoon Jelawat to impact Taiwan, Japan

The cyclone has lost some of its might and should continue weakening while moving into colder waters, said CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis. Wind troughs out of China could divert Jelawat away from land and into the open Pacific Ocean.

This has not kept Okinawa from feeling the might of Jelawat's gusts, although there have been no reports of major damage.

"The winds are screaming through the streets," storm chaser James Reynolds said from Okinawa before the typhoon strike. "I've seen at least one window blow out."

He explained that buildings on the island are constructed to withstand the frequent Pacific typhoons. Just two weeks ago, Sanba, a Category 3 storm with slightly stronger winds than the current typhoon, passed over Okinawa on its way to South Korea.

Local media reported Jelawat's gusts had overturned motor vehicles.

A U.S. Air Force base on the island recorded a gust of 180 mph, Maginnis said.

Kadena Air Base posted comments, photos and videos from the storm on its Facebook page.

"Jumpin' Jelawat!" a comment read. "OK, this is the back side of Jelawat. Impressive. Scary impressive."

The base lost its American Forces Network television signal, according to one photo post with a descriptive caption saying the storm "decided to make a taco out of one of our satellite dish."

The page held a contest for the best storm picture. Potential winning images -- containing the worst damage -- displayed a single car that the wind had overturned and roof damage to a home.

Typhoon Sanba rumbles over Okinawa

CNN's Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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