Readiness paramount in preparing for typhoon season
In 2012, 13 typhoons affected Okinawa. The typhoons sent massive waves crashing against the shoreline. Violent wind and rain flooded buildings, uprooted trees, damaged cars, and left roads impassable.
June 1 marked the beginning of typhoon season, which will last until Nov. 30, and it remains important for service members and their families living on Okinawa to be prepared in advance of the powerful tropical storms common in the Asia-Pacific region.
Throughout typhoon season, Okinawa remains in tropical cyclone condition of readiness 4. TCCOR 4 denotes a weather state where destructive wind of 50 knots or greater are possible within 72 hours.
“If someone asked you, ‘Are you ready if a typhoon is scheduled to make landfall in the next 72 hours?’ what would you say?” asked Aaron M. Davis, the supervisory occupational safety and health specialist with the Installation Safety Office, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “Now is the time to stock-up on typhoon supplies. It is important to ensure that throughout typhoon season you have a typhoon readiness kit prepared at all times”
Typhoon readiness kits may vary for each family based on what it feels it will require during and following a storm, but all should include several basic items, according to Davis.
“Every typhoon readiness kit should have the following: one gallon of water per person for a day, canned goods that can be eaten without being heated up or nonperishable foods, flashlights, a hand-powered or battery-powered radio, appropriate spare batteries and a first-aid kit,” said Davis. “All these supplies should be properly stocked to last for at least three to seven days.”
Bathtubs should be filled with water for hygiene purposes before a typhoon makes landfall, according to Davis. In the chance that facilities and services are rendered inoperable, the water in the tub can also be used to flush the toilet.
With the complexities of accurately predicting volatile storms a persistent issue, the TCCOR system has been updated to allow the conditions to more accurately reflect the weather that Okinawa is expected to experience.
If a typhoon is not expected to make landfall, but the island will still feel the effects of the storms, Storm Watch will be enacted per the recent update to the TCCOR system, according to Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph Round, a flight chief with 18th Operation Support Squadron and weather consultant with the Kadena weather forecast.
“This allows a heightened state of alert in case the course of the typhoon changes, so people will hopefully be better prepared,” added Round. “Also, if a tropical storm system comes through that doesn’t meet other TCCOR criteria, we can use storm watch to help alert people that it will still be a really bad storm.”
To receive updates about current TCCOR conditions and monitor storm progress on Okinawa, visit: www.usno.navy.mil/jtwc, tune-in to American Forces Network television and radio programming, or call 634-4081 and speak to a representative from 18th Wing Support Squadron with Kadena Weather.