by: Kadena Air Base | .
U.S. Air Force | .
published: July 26, 2016

In the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline, hurricanes are called typhoons.  These typhoons typically pack powerful winds and can be very destructive.

Once formed, the storms usually travel in a path beginning near Guam, then moves toward the Philippines and Okinawa and before heading north toward mainland Japan or Korea. Most weaken at sea before they reach inland.

Typhoons are most frequent from June to November with as many as 26 typhoons forming in a season. However, usually only three or four pass close enough to Okinawa to be of any concern to people stationed there.

On Okinawa, the greatest number of typhoons is concentrated in August and September. Sophisticated weather forecasting and tracking equipment and reinforced concrete buildings have taken the surprise and most of the danger out of typhoons.

The Kadena weather flight monitors these tropical storms and typhoons, and serves as a focal point for typhoon information on Okinawa as part of the Pacific Command’s Tropical Cyclone Warning System.

Warnings of approaching storms, as well as typhoon tips and precautions, are broadcast over American Forces Network-Okinawa radio and television.

Current local weather information, including tropical cyclone conditions of readiness, is available on the Kadena weather flight’s homepage “Shogun Weather” and the Kadena Facebook site.

Kadena residents can also get up-to-date pathway projections for typhoons via the Joint Typhoon Warning Center’s homepage.

Read the Kadena Air Base Emergency Actions Guide from the base disaster preparedness office for more details on typhoon preparedness.

Expectant mothers should also consult the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa typhoon instructions.

The following are Tropical Cyclone (Typhoon) Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR), their meanings and actions to take for safety:

TCCOR 5: Destructive winds are possible within 96 hours. Stock up on food, water, and emergency supplies. (Only used outside of established typhoon season)

TCCOR 4: Destructive sustained winds of 50 knots or greater possible within 72 hours. Stock up on food, bottled water, dry milk, batteries, flashlights, candles and other emergency supplies. TC-4 stays in affect from June 1 to November 30 every year.

TCCOR 3: Destructive sustained winds of 50 knots or greater possible within 48 hours. Initiate a general clean-up around your home, apartment and office. Pick up loose items, such as toys, garden tools and lawn furniture.

TCCOR 2: Destructive sustained winds of 50 knots or greater anticipated within 24 hours. Secure all outdoor property such as picnic tables, barbecue grills, etc.

TCCOR 1: Destructive sustained winds of 50 knots or greater are expected within 12 hours. DODDs schools will not be closed until TCCOR 1C. Fill any available containers with water. Make a final check of food, water and other supplies.

TCCOR 1 Caution: Winds of 35-49 knots sustained are occurring (at a particular installation).

TCCOR 1 Emergency: Winds of 50 knots sustained or gust factors of 60 knots or greater are occurring at a particular installation. All outside activities are prohibited.

TCCOR 1 Recovery: After the passage of a tropical cyclone (TC), when destructive winds have subsided and are no longer forecasted to occur, survey and work crews are sent out to determine the extent of damage and to establish safe zones around hazards (e.g. downed power lines, unstable structures).  Until the recovery process is declared complete (TCCOR All Clear), or the risk of injury and/or damage to personnel and property has been mitigated to a safe level, the general base population would normally be asked to remain indoors.

TCCOR Storm Watch: Strong winds of 35 knots sustained or greater are possible due to the proximity of a tropical cyclone; however, winds are not forecasted to meet the destructive wind criteria (50 knots sustained or gust factors of 60 knots or greater). Personnel should follow Standard Operating Procedures for TCCOR Storm Watch and stay alert for any changes to TCCOR status. Strong winds will meet TCCOR 1 Caution criteria. The storm is also close enough to the area that a heightened alert status is necessary in order to rapidly establish elevated TCCOR conditions should the storm deviate from the forecasted track or intensity.

*It is possible to return to TCCOR Storm Watch from another TCCOR level if the storm is no longer forecasted to reach destructive wind criteria.

TCCOR All Clear: The storm is over and not forecast to return.  Storm damage could still present a danger. This TCCOR level is used to inform U.S. Military and civilians that the threat of the storm is over. However, until the recovery process is declared complete (TCCOR All Clear), or the risk of injury and/or damage to personnel and property has been mitigated to a safe level, the general base population would normally be asked to continue to remain indoors.

There are some simple but important steps that Airmen and their families should take in preparation for typhoon season. Most importantly, families should have an emergency kit that contains the following items at a minimum:

  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Bottled Water (3 days worth - 1 gallon per person per day)
  • Non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
  • Foods for infants or the elderly
  • Snack foods
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Cooking tools/fuel
  • Paper plates/plastic utensils
  • First-Aid supplies, Prescriptions
  • Battery powered radio (AFN)
  • Pet care items
  • Towels, rags, mops

When a typhoon is imminent, all personnel should:

  • Fill bathtubs with water
  • Turn refrigerators/freezers to highest setting
  • Secure loose outdoor objects or store them indoors, play sets, bicycles, and other toys, grills, trampolines, storage sheds, tables & chair, trash & recycling containers
  • Store bulk trash items indoors if contractor has not picked up by TCCOR 2
  • Secure & lock all exterior doors and windows
  • Sandbags can be filled at multiple fill stations around the installation.
  • Turn off all non-critical electrical items: lights, computers, printers, fans, TVs, etc.
  • Fuel your vehicles
  • Park vehicles in an area least prone to falling tree limbs and flooding
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