What Is A Typhoon? A typhoon (or hurricane in the Eastern Pacific or Atlantic Oceans) is an intense tropical cyclone (a low-pressure system) in the Western Pacific with sustained surface wind speeds exceeding 63 knots (72 mph). Compared to thunderstorms and tornadoes, typhoons are unique because they cover a vast area of thousands of square miles, have a relatively long life span of up to two weeks, and travel thousands of miles.
Violent typhoon winds blow in a counterclockwise direction around a relatively calm and cloudless center called the "eye." Although strong winds are generally the most feared effect, heavy torrential rains and high ocean waves pose the greatest threat to property and lives. Tropical depressions and storms, which are also members of the tropical cyclone family, are really the early formative stages of typhoon development. Wind speeds associated with these weaker cyclones are less than 63 knots (72 mph).
Typhoon Definitions Tropical Disturbance: A system generally 100 to 300 miles in diameter, originating in the tropics or subtropics. Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 33 knots (38 mph) or less. Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 72 mph). Typhoon/Hurricane: A cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 64 to 129 knots (73 to 149 mph). Super Typhoon: A typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 130 knots (150 mph) or greater. Destructive Winds: Destructive winds are 50 knots (58 mph) or greater.
Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness (TCCOR) Tropical cyclone wind warnings are identified as: "Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness" (TCCOR) levels. TCCOR levels contain two important items: wind intensity and the time remaining before the wind conditions are expected in a certain area. TCCOR levels are as follows: TCCOR FOUR: Destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are possible within 72 hours. TCCOR THREE: Destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are possible within 48 hours. TCCOR TWO: Destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are anticipated within 24 hours. TCCOR ONE: Destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are anticipated within 12 hours. TCCOR ONE CAUTION: Winds of 34 to 49 knots (39 to 56 mph) sustained are occurring. TCCOR ONE EMERGENCY: Destructive winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or greater are occurring. TCCOR STORM WATCH: Due to the close proximity or erratic movements, the typhoon still poses a threat to people and the installation. RECOVERY: The time to determine damage and create safe zones. ALL CLEAR: The storm is over and is not forecast to return.
TCCOR Level Checklist: When typhoon TCCOR levels are declared, warnings will be given on AFN television channels and radio Eagle 810, cable Channel 13 and the U.S. Army Garrison Japan’s Facebook page. The following actions should be taken during the TCCOR levels below:
TCCOR FOUR: Destructive winds are possible within 72 hours. OB patients in their third trimester should contact their intended birthing facility to coordinate possible billeting and monitoring. Then, update U.S. Army Medical Activities Department-Japan with any changes in status. Patients with less than a seven day supply of noncontrolled medication on hand should go to the MEDDAC-J pharmacy for an emergency refill. Amounts provided will depend upon the situation. Those with civilian insurance will need to work with their provider to prevent an additional charge for an early refill. Review family storm/typhoon plans. Items to consider in a family plan include location and transportation of family members, Emergency Evacuation Program (EEP) package checklist items, food and supplies needed for pets, as well as verification of items listed below. Ensure the entire family is aware of household emergency procedures, the locations of housing area assembly areas and emergency holding areas. Check to ensure you have a three-day supply of nonperishable food items. Check your first aid kit. Check your supply of emergency lighting materials such as candles, matches, lanterns, flashlights and batteries. Ensure a portable radio is available and in working order (with extra batteries). Stay tuned to cable Channel 13, AFN's Eagle 810 AM radio, AFN television channels, and USAG-Japan’s Facebook for information updates. Service members and civilians are reminded to rely on their individual commands for detailed information and guidance.
TCCOR THREE: Destructive winds are anticipated within 48 hours. Ensure your emergency readiness kit is complete and available in a convenient location. Pick up and secure loose items outside your home. If the item is too large to bring inside, secure it to a tree or stationary object. If residing in government quarters, DO NOT tape windows unless directed to do so. Stay tuned to cable Channel 13, AFN's Eagle 810 AM radio, AFN television channels, and USAG-Japan’s Facebook for information updates. Service members and civilians are reminded to rely on their individual commands for detailed information and guidance.
TCCOR TWO: Destructive winds are anticipated within 24 hours. Secure, or move indoors, all items that may be blown away or cause injury or damage such as bicycles, planters, trashcans, etc. Ensure storage shed doors are secure. Loose objects left in yards, sidewalks or parking lots may damage your car or house. Set your freezer to the coldest temperature to minimize spoilage in the case of an electrical power outage. Ensure you have a three day supply per person of bottled water available. Limit telephone use to emergency use only. Authorities must make many official calls while in TCCOR status concerning storm preparations. Stay tuned to cable Channel 13, AFN's Eagle 810 AM radio, AFN television channels, and USAG-Japan’s Facebook for information updates. Service members and civilians are reminded to rely on their individual commands for detailed information and guidance.
TCCOR ONE: Destructive winds are anticipated within 12 hours. All facilities and Department of Defense Dependent Schools will continue to operate under normal operating hours. AFN Radio AM 810, cable Channel 13 and USAG-Japan’s Facebook will announce closings and dismissal procedures for DoDDS when they happen. Keep a battery powered radio tuned to AFN Radio AM 810. Routine medical and dental appointments may be cancelled upon declaration of this condition.
TCCOR ONE CAUTION: Destructive winds are occurring or anticipated within three hours. Depending on the intensity of the storm and the closest point of approach to the local area, the Commander, USAG-Japan, may direct that all installation activities cease immediately or that activities operate on a restricted basis. AFN Radio AM 810, cable Channel 13 and USAG-Japan’s Facebook will announce closings and dismissal procedures for DoDDS. Fill bathtubs, sinks and other containers with water for use as an emergency water supply. Water can be disinfected in emergency situations by adding 1/2 teaspoon of bleach to 5 gallons of water. Assemble towels, rags and mops to absorb rainwater that may seep into your quarters.
TCCOR ONE EMERGENCY: Destructive winds are occurring. Limit telephone usage to emergencies only. Draw blinds and drapes to prevent possible injury from broken glass. One window downwind from the approaching destructive wind should be opened several inches. This will prevent the creation of a vacuum inside the house. During a typhoon, the "eye" of the storm may pass over the area. If so, there will be a noticeable calm, but do not be fooled into thinking the storm is over. After the calm there is a rapid buildup of wind that will come from the opposite direction. Close the windows previously opened and open another on the opposite side of the house (downwind side). Stay inside. On-base residents need not shut off utilities since they are centrally controlled. Do not leave your home or holding area until the "All Clear” announcement" is made. Stay tuned to the cable Channel 13, AFN's Eagle 810 AM radio, AFN television channels, and USAG-Japan’s Facebook for information updates.
TCCOR RECOVERY: Until the Recovery process is declared and either ALL CLEAR or STORM WATCH has been declared by the installation TCCOR authority, everyone is asked to remain indoors.
TCCOR STORM WATCH: Personnel should stay alert and continue to monitor television and radio announcements, because a rapid change to TCCOR conditions could occur.
ALL CLEAR: There is no longer a threat of severe weather and damaging winds. Once the "All Clear” announcement" is made, check for debris such as broken glass, broken roof tiles, fallen trees, broken fences, downed power lines, etc. Report any damage or problems to the Installation Operations Center (IOC) at 315-263-7192/3514 or 046-407-7192/3514, Directorate of Public Works (DPW) at 315-263-4613 or 046-407-4613 or the Military Police at 315-263-3002 or 046-407-3002. Resume normal activities. Never touch downed power lines. Report it immediately. Pick up items that may have blown around your quarters just in case the typhoon changes course and returns. Once power has been restored, return your freezer to normal settings. If directed to do so, report to assembly areas or emergency holding areas closest to your quarters. Take your emergency kit with you. Current typhoon weather information for Japan and the Pacific is available at: http://www.usno.navy.mil/jtwc/.
During a disaster, one of the most important things to have is an emergency kit. This kit should be stocked with the essential supplies to keep you alive during an emergency. Inspect it periodically to make sure everything is ready when you need it.
Japan sits in an area called the Pacific Ring of Fire. This area is the most volatile region for seismic activity in the world. Earthquakes are caused by plates shifting beneath the earth’s surface. When a shift and sudden break occurs massive amounts of stored energy is released from the plates creating seismic waves. This expelled energy is what causes earthquakes, and more commonly, the ground shaking. Currently, there is no way to predict when and where an earthquake will occur. With the lack of any warning system, it is essential for everyone to know what to do when an earthquake hits.
Earthquakes can produce a secondary threat that can be just as, if not more, cataclysmic than an earthquake—tsunamis. A tsunami is a massive wall of water that can storm across the ocean at speeds of up to 600 mph and towering heights of 100 ft. This force of nature can wreak havoc upon infrastructure, land, and low lying areas. Unlike earthquakes, there is usually a warning before a tsunami. A key warning is of course an earthquake. While not every earthquake causes a tsunami, anytime an earthquake occurs it is safe to always presume there will be one. Another sign is the water rapidly receding from the coastline.