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5:20 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, Japan time: Well, well, no numbered tropical cyclones to this point of the northwest Pacific typhoon season. When last year at this time, we'd already seen six. And we're closing in on the longest period recorded between named storms on record: 198 days, between Dec. 22, 1997, and July 7, 1998. All quiet on the northwestern front? No time to get complacent, PST warns. In fact, this is undoubtedly the best time to ensure that folks are prepared for the worst. For on Okinawa and parts south in this region, a typhoon can form with almost no warning. Such was the case in September 2003, when Choi-Wan formed almost out of nowhere, and right over the island, land sakes alive. U.S. bases on Okinawa went from Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 4 to TCCOR 1 in almost the blink of an eye. And so the run on the Shoppettes, Exchanges and commissaries commenced, almost in the blink of an eye. So, campers, take special care to ensure you're prepared. Check your closet. What's inside? A goodly supply of non-perishable foods is a start. Got a flashlight? A portable radio, be it a windup or one that takes batteries? How about those bats? Got a fresh supply? Maybe time to grab some diapers for the little'uns in the fam. Maybe replenish that supply of pet food for your furry friends, be they leashed, caged or roaming free. Enough things in the closet to suffice as activities for the children, be they teens or wee'uns? Board games? Yep, they still sell those at the Four Seasons on base. Nothing like a good game of Monopoly to pass the time. And they still work even after the power goes off. Until that happens, nothing wrong with checking the DVDs to see if that copy of Band of Brothers is still there. And many folks carry a goodly collection of online movies and TV series to keep them occupied. When that time comes, when a tropical cyclone forms and the projections predict the worst, make sure you make plenty of time to make commissary, PX and Shoppette runs. Ensure that the hibachi, bicycles and trampolines can be dismantled, stored or tied down securely. They can become dangerous projectiles in high winds. Include a visit to the gasoline stand to fill up the tank, and definitely stop at the bank or the ATM to get enough cash and local currency to last at least three days. When the power goes off, no telling when it might come back on. Make a point to click on the links in the right side of the menu while there's plenty of time to study the TCCORs and what they mean, and what other things you can do around house and home to prepare in advance for storms before they arrive. Get your safe on!


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