Typhoon preparedness guide
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 28, 2015
Here's an excellent resource and guide to typhoon preparedness, especially for folks new to Okinawa, courtesy of Marine Corps Bases Japan's Oki News Today:
Typhoons (tropical cyclones) are large storms originating in the Pacific. Because of our geographic location, Okinawa is susceptible to and threatened by several typhoons each year. Damaging effects of typhoons come from high wind speeds, heavy rains and storm surge. It is easy to protect yourself from typhoons; however, they can be deadly to those who do not take proper precautions.
Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR)
TCCORs are graduated states of readiness based on the forecast onset of 50 knot (57 mph) winds. TCCORs are set by the 18th Wing commander, Kadena Air Base (TCCOR AUTHORITY PER U.S. Forces Japan instruction) for all military installations on Okinawa. TCCOR declarations are orders: take them seriously! Conditions may not look bad where you are, but they can change fast, and you can get caught in a violent storm without warning.
Changes to TCCOR are passed over AFN radio and TV. Look for "TC (X)" in the bottom left corner of the screen while watching AFN on base and Channel 21 for those off base with an AFN satellite dish and decoder box.
The following are the TCCOR actions:
All Clear: No tropical storms are threatening Okinawa
- Exists from Dec. 1-May 31 unless a storm moves into the area.
- Keep your disaster supply kit together and rotate canned goods and water as needed.
TCCOR-5: Added to the USFJ instruction just this year. Destructive winds of 58 mph or greater are possible within 96 hours. Used only outside the normal June 1-Nov. 30 seasonal period when it appears an out-of-season cyclone may threaten Okinawa, Korea or Japan.
TCCOR 4 (TC 4): A storm could cause destructive winds of 58 mph or greater within 72 hours.
- Okinawa remains in TC 4 from June 1 to Nov. 30.
- Keep preparatory actions up to date and ensure you and your family know what to do if we go to higher TCCORs.
TCCOR 3 (TC 3): A storm is in the area and is forecast to cause destructive winds within the next 48 hours. Take the following preparatory actions:
- Inventory your emergency supplies.
- Replace expired or used items.
- Ensure you have adequate water for yourself and your family.
- Check your flashlights and batteries and ensure everything works.
- Make sure your gas tanks (car and house) are full.
Secure the larger, more difficult items in your yard.
- Children's play sets
- Kiddie pools
- Picnic tables
- Gas grills
- Trash cans and recycle bins
- Monitor the storm's progress (links below)
- Be prepared to finish your storm preparations quickly.
- The storm could intensify or increase its movement quickly, pushing the island into a lower TCCOR than previously forecasted.
TCCOR 2 (TC 2): A storm is approaching Okinawa and is forecast to cause destructive winds within the next 24 hours. Take the following precautions:
- Ensure all preparatory actions for TCCOR 3 are complete.
Secure any loose items in your yard.
- Lawn decorations
- Flower pots
- Anything that can cause debris.
- Withdraw emergency cash (dollars and yen) you will need before the storm. If electricity is down, cash machines may not work after the storm.
TCCOR 1 (TC 1): A storm is approaching Okinawa and is forecast to cause destructive winds within the next 12 hours. Take the following precautions:
- Ensure all preparatory actions for TCCOR 3 and 2 are complete.
Fill water containers for sanitation and drinking as needed.
- Two quarts per person per day for drinking.
- A gallon per person per day is a good amount to keep on hand for sanitation.
- Turn the temperature of your refrigerator/freezer to the coolest point and minimize the amount you open and close it. If power goes off, perishable foods will keep longer if they start at colder temperatures.
- Have a plan for your children.
- DO NOT TAPE WINDOWS OF ON-BASE QUARTERS! The windows are typhoon proof and are covered with a plastic film that is easily damaged by tape.
- Contact your unit if you're not confident of your off-base quarters' ability to stand up to the storm. If you don't feel secure, ask your supervisor, first sergeant, or commander to help you find suitable shelter on base.
TCCOR 1 Caution (TC 1C): Hazardous winds will likely occur within the next 12 hours, and winds of 39-56 mph including gusts are occurring. Non-essential functions close and personnel are released. Take the following actions:
- Secure all doors and windows in your home and workplace if not already done.
- All personnel must stay inside until the 18th Wing Commander declares TCCOR Storm Watch, or a lower TCCOR. (Note: This applies to all Status of Forces Agreement status personnel and their dependents whether they live on base or off base. Personnel are to stay inside during TC-1C, TC-1E and TC-R.) Rapidly changing storm patterns could cause the island to move into TC 1 Emergency before previously forecast.
- Non-essential functions include, but aren't limited to:
. All AAFES
. MWR facilities, including child care facilities
. DODDS functions
. Child development centers.
TCCOR 1 Emergency (TC 1E): 58-mph or greater winds and other dangerous conditions are present. All personnel must stay inside until the 18th Wing Commander declares TCCOR Storm Watch, or a lower TCCOR.
*It is important to note that local Camp Commanders have the authority to elevate or remain in a higher TCCOR condition based on local conditions (wind speed) or safety issues (down power lines, blocked roads etc.)
- Keep your emergency supplies handy. Your battery-powered radio and flashlights will be needed immediately if power goes out.
- STAY INSIDE!!! Continue monitoring the storm's progress and be prepared to remain in quarters for the duration of the storm. The storm could intensify or decrease its movement, subjecting the island to dangerous conditions longer than previously forecast.
TCCOR 1 Recovery (TC 1R): Winds have decreased below 58 mph but life-threatening hazards may be present on base.
- Only personnel issued a mission-essential typhoon pass are allowed outside of their quarters on the condition of performing mission essential tasks.
- Non-essential functions remain closed.
- Continue to monitor storm's progress.
STORM WATCH: Life-threatening hazards have been isolated or corrected, but damage may still exist. The base may still be experiencing some storm-related effects.
- Units and individuals assess damage to their facilities
- AAFES and Commissary facilities reopen after completing their damage assessment unless the Wing Commander directs otherwise.
- All military personnel and civilian employees report to work within 2 hours of the Storm Watch declaration, at their normal duty hours, or as directed by their commanders.
- Continue monitoring the storm's progress. The storm could return quickly, pushing the island back into TC 1, TC 1 Caution, or even TC 1 Emergency.
Things to have on hand for a typhoon:
- Four-day supply of food and water (bottled water, canned food, and other non-perishable items)
- Duct tape, hammer and nails for quick repairs
- Blankets, tarps, plastic, and heavy cardboard to cover broken windows
- Mops and towels to absorb water leaks
- Flashlights with extra batteries, candles, matches and a waterproof lighter (NOTE: DO NOT LEAVE OPEN FLAMES UNATTENDED)
- Battery-operated portable radio and extra batteries
- Pet food
- Charcoal/propane - in extended power loss, you may have to barbecue the contents of your freezer
- Medications/First aid kit
- Canned fuel (Sterno)
- Children's supplies: diapers and formula
EMERGENCIES: ON BASE: 911
M. Michael Lacey
Regional Installation Emergency Manager
Director, MCBJ Emergency Operations Center
USFJ Base Cluster Operations Center - 5
Marine Corps Bases Japan, AC/S G-3
From U.S.: 011-81-611-745-7607/7222