Published: May 31, 2012
Friday, June 1, 11 a.m. Japan time: Okinawa has set seasonal Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 just in time to greet the season’s fourth numbered storm, which is forecast to skirt southeast of the island overnight Monday into Tuesday.
Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing Weather Flight says to expect northeasterly winds of 40 mph gusting as high as 45 as as-yet-unnamed 04W makes it way past about 230 miles southeast of Okinawa around midnight Monday. Not a lot of rain forecast to be associated with the storm, a few showers here and there but “the winds will be strong,” a weather flight official said.
Published: May 21, 2012
The third cyclone of the northwest Pacific’s typhoon season was upgraded to a tropical storm overnight Monday and is forecast to rake Guam with 35- to 40-mph winds, and gusts up to 45 mph in showers. A high wind advisory is in place at A.B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam until 6 p.m. local time. 03W, as yet unnamed, is forecast to pass 60 miles southwest of Guam at mid-morning and keep moving northwest at 9 mph. Keep tuned to local weather forecasts and online weather advisories for details.
Published: May 21, 2012
Looks like the third storm of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season will pass west of Guam as a severe tropical depression, 72 miles southwest of Big Navy and 101 miles southwest of Andersen Air Force Base, packing sustained 35-mph winds and 46-mph gusts at its center.
03W is then forecast to curve northeast, well to the east of Japan and some 170 miles east of Iwo Jima. It should max out at 69-mph sustained winds and 86-mph gusts at 9 p.m. Thursday.
Published: May 17, 2012
Long before social networking sites were a twinkle in their founders’ eyes, getting information about tropical storms and their approach to Pacific land masses and bases most times rested with words or graphics heard or seen on AFN radio broadcasts, commanders’ access channels and base “giant voice” loudspeaker systems.
These days, that word can be had instantly via sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Virtually every base in the Pacific has its own Facebook page, including Kadena Air Base whose commanding officer speaks in one voice for the island when it comes to tropical cyclone condition of readiness changes. Official word about TCCORs, danger zones, power outages can be passed to the base population in a matter of seconds, whether on desktop, laptop, iPad or even your small iPhone, even with the power out.
Published: May 14, 2012
From Pacific Storm Tracker’s archives, summer 2011. Particularly for new folks who weren't on Okinawa during Typhoons Muifa in August and Songda in May, but also to reinforce what old Asia hands like me already know, here are some links to valuable resources, a much-more detailed guide to typhoon preparedness, frequently asked questions about what to do and not do during storms, especially why not to mess with the eye of a storm.
Part II of this series, coming in a few days, will deal with social networking, and how it can be a vital link to getting immediate information on tropical cyclones from official sources … and how the rumour mill can impede that flow of information thanks to unofficial sources who might have just a piece of the whole puzzle, but not all of it.
Published: May 13, 2012
By now, in the run-up to the upcoming northwest Pacific typhoon season, those new to Okinawa or Guam may have heard or seen the term TCCOR, which stands for tropical cyclone condition of readiness.
Old hat to many long-timers or greybeards such as I, but to reinforce what you already know, here’s a primer on what those TCCORs mean, and what to do once each of them is declared, in order, as a typhoon nears your location.
This is Part I of a series of blog posts designed to get you ready for the upcoming typhoon season, what to do, where to go and how to prepare when one of those nasty things starts bearing down on you.
FYI, Okinawa enters seasonal TCCOR 4 starting June 1 and exits it Nov. 30 each year, and Guam remains in seasonal TCCOR 4 year-round, because each location sits in the area where tropical cyclones are apt to form. I remember one in September 2003, which formed right over Okinawa, which went from TCCOR 4 to 1 almost instantly, and caused a run on the Foster Shoppette.
Once storms form and begin their track toward land masses such as Okinawa, the 18th Wing Weather Flight keeps close watch on them, recommending accelerated TCCORs when they feel appropriate to the 18th Wing commanding officer, who speaks in one voice for the island when he actually issues the accelerated TCCORs.
The only exception is when TCCOR All-Clear is declared or the island reverts back to seasonal TCCOR 4. All-Clear is also subject to conditions on each base; some might delay reverting to All-Clear if there are still power lines or tree limbs damaged that haven’t been hauled away.
Other areas of the Pacific don’t endure storms as strong as the ones on Guam and Okinawa, but they can still be destructive; ask those in the Kanto Plain who suffered through Typhoon Roke last September, which pounded Honshu’s east coast with 65-mph winds, the strongest to hit the Tokyo area in decades.
Here we go:
TCCOR 4 – Destructive winds of 58 mph (50 nautical mph) or greater are possible within 72 hours. Now’s the time to stock up on food and storm supplies. Check your closet and cupboards. What’s in them? Do you need bottled water, non-perishable foods, a portable radio, extra batteries, pet food for your furry friends, diapers for the little ones?
TCCOR 3 – Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible within 48 hours.
Begin a general cleanup around homes and office. Bring inside or tie down those bicycles to a concrete structure. Take down the trampoline and move it inside. Do the same with the hibachi or barbeque. Even plastic pails can become dangerous projectiles in a storm. Note: Do NOT tape windows; these days, windows of both on- and off-base structures are coated to protect from UV rays and are also designed to withstand sustained destructive winds for extended periods. Taping them might damage them. If you’ve not visited the PX or commissary, now’s the time to do so, to avoid the late rush.