Riders on the Storm: always be prepared for super-typhoon like Chaba

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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Collin Tompkins, a pavement maintenance and heavy equipment operator with the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, saws apart a branch that was blown down by Typhoon Chaba, Oct. 5, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The ride-out team completes their designated route after the announcement of TCCOR-1R, assessing damage to government property, downed powerlines or trees as well as any flooding. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Corey Pettis)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Collin Tompkins, a pavement maintenance and heavy equipment operator with the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, saws apart a branch that was blown down by Typhoon Chaba, Oct. 5, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The ride-out team completes their designated route after the announcement of TCCOR-1R, assessing damage to government property, downed powerlines or trees as well as any flooding. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Corey Pettis)

Riders on the Storm: always be prepared for super-typhoon like Chaba

by: Airman 1st Class Nick Emerick, 18th Wing Public Affairs | .
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published: October 07, 2016

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Typhoon Chaba recently graced the ocean around the island paradise of Okinawa with its eye on the prize and a stormy disposition.

Although never making landfall on Okinawa, members of Team Kadena prepared for the worst in anticipation of the super-typhoon.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon that occur in different parts of the world. These storms are caused by warm oceans, moisture and light winds which can combine to produce violent winds, heavy rain and flooding.

Kadena Air Base, as well as members of other military instillations on Okinawa and throughout the Pacific, use Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness to maintain constant vigilance during typhoon season. The TCCOR conditions alert members across the Department of Defense of possible weather information, to begin typhoon preparations and safety issuances.

Members of the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron on Kadena took part in preparation activities prior to Chaba, making sure base residents were prepared for the storm.

“At TCCOR-2 we take down all the wooden signs on base, and at 1C our main responsibilities are to make sure the sandpits are filled for housing residents, which are located by eagle hardware, the north side of the flightline and across from Erwin professional military education center,” said Tech. Sgt. Martin C. Faulkner Jr., NCO in charge of base maintenance with the 18th CES. “Everyone from within the shop goes home except for our ride-out team, which is comprised of an NCO and an Airman. They stay at the shop, keeping in touch with the unit control center during the storm.”

The ride-out team completes their designated route after the announcement of TCCOR-1R assessing damage to government property, downed powerlines or trees as well as any flooding, according to Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Moore, a member of the ride-out team, post-typhoon Chaba.

“When 1R hits, that’s when we recall the shop, and after the ride-out team comes back, we split the shop up into seven teams to cover the seven zones where we have to check for tree branches, clogged drains, and downed powerlines,” said Faulkner. “The rain is really the main issue, because of the amount of drains we have on base and how much rain we get, if those drains are clogged before a typhoon comes in, it can cause all sorts of problems.”

Thankfully, post-Typhoon Chaba recovery mostly consisted of removal of downed trees and unclogging drains across the base.