Typhoon season is here, so be prepared!
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- On June 1, Kadena will enter Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness Four, the default condition of readiness during typhoon season, which begins June 1 and lasts until November 30.
Okinawa sits in the Pacific region's "Typhoon Alley," an area in which typhoons, known as hurricanes when formed over the Atlantic Ocean, are likely to form under appropriate conditions. An average season will see as many as 26 storms, although typically less than five will pass close enough to Okinawa to affect island residents.
Typhoons are formed when warm surface water from the Pacific Ocean combines with the high humidity and low, cool winds in the region. They usually form near Guam before heading toward Okinawa and on to mainland Japan.
Fortunately, buildings on Okinawa are built with typhoons in mind, so residents who stay indoors during storms should be relatively safe. Also, the Kadena weather flight monitors tropical storms and keeps the public informed with up-to-date information.
"We monitor the Joint Typhoon Warning Center site to monitor any typhoon formations, track where they're going and brief leadership about three times a week," said Capt. Matthew Klick, 18th Operation Support Squadron weather flight commander.
"We post Tropical Cyclone Information Sheets on our website and also we'll send an email to all leadership on base and all other agencies on island so they can distribute it to their personnel," Klick said. "We'll create a timeline report that has the (path the storm is forecast to follow), the maximum winds expected on Okinawa and information on rainfall."
Although the weather flight makes recommendations, the wing commander is the TCCOR authority for the entire island and has the final say when it comes to changing the readiness condition.
Storm warnings and current TCCOR conditions will be broadcast on Wave 89.1 and American Forces Network television channels.
Senior Airman Ashley Charfauros, 18th Civil Engineering Squadron readiness and emergency management journeyman advises residents to prepare a survival kit with enough non-perishable food for at least three days, a flashlight with spare batteries, a gallon of water per person per day and other emergency supplies.
The kit should be assembled well before a typhoon is headed toward Okinawa in order to avoid the stress of fighting commissary lines or potentially enduring a typhoon without necessary supplies.
"We also have an app for iOS and Android devices called 'Air Force Be Ready,'" Charfauros said. "It has everything that you need. Not just for typhoons, but for earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, lightning and thunderstorms, major accidents; anything you can think of is in this little app."
In addition to preparing a survival kit, residents should prepare and rehearse a disaster plan. All family members should know the plan in case there is an emergency while a parent or spouse is on a temporary duty assignment.
When a typhoon is imminent, residents are advised to fill bathtubs with water, secure outdoor objects such as flower pots and barbeque grills, lock all windows and sandbag exterior doors, turn off non-essential electrical appliances and turn refrigerators and freezers to their highest setting.
"The biggest mistake people make is not being prepared," Charfauros said.
For more information, check out Kadena's Typhoon Fact Sheet at http://www.kadena.af.mil/library/typhoons/index.asp.