MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- With the summer months fast approaching, residents of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, will want to begin preparing for typhoon season beginning on June 1 until November 30.
“Typhoon season is the period of time throughout the year in which cyclone development is more likely to occur than compared to the rest of the year based on the favorable conditions that develop over specific areas in the Pacific Ocean,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dante M. Rakestraw, MCAS Iwakuni Weather Services Branch officer in charge. “Typically, most typhoons occur during July and August.”
Since 1951, there have been more than 1,600 typhoons develop in the western Pacific Ocean and, of those, 93 came within 120 miles of MCAS Iwakuni as of 2013, according to Rakestraw.
“Mainland Japan is fortunate due to its position within the Pacific,” explained Rakestraw. “There is a strong high pressure system in the center of the ocean that helps steer typhoons around it. There are times when they do not steer soon enough and may pass through the region between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, Kyushu in particular. The typhoons that pass through this area pose the most danger.”
Residents tend to get complacent and disregard warning signs due to the fact most tropical cyclones that develop in the western Pacific do not track toward MCAS Iwakuni, said Rakestraw. Although Iwakuni is not in an area as susceptible to typhoons as the Philippines or Okinawa, residents need to be prepared for destructive weather events because typhoons are still possible.
“Station residents should get informed about hazards and emergencies that may affect them and their family, and be prepared for all possible inclement weather, natural disasters, and threats,” said Sean KimHan, safety specialist with the Station Safety Center.
Residents can prepare for typhoons or any natural disasters by developing an emergency plan, practicing that plan at least once per year, and identifying the community warning systems and evacuation routes, said KimHan. Station residents can learn more about preparing for natural disasters by going to http://www.ready.gov/natural-disasters.
The station Weather Services Branch releases Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness to assist residents in determining what precautions should be taken during each condition.
“TCCOR provides a basis for local preparation and decision making by the commanders based on many factors such as wind speed, weather forecast, safety, operational and mission concerns,” said Rakestraw.
The following are the phases of TCCOR:
TCCOR IV - Historical trends indicate a possible threat of tropical cyclone within 72 hours.
TCCOR III - Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 48 hours.
TCCOR II - Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 24 hours.
TCCOR I - Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 12 hours.
TCCOR IC (Caution) - Winds of 35 to 49 knots are occurring on station.
TCCOR IE (Emergency) - Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are occurring on station.
TCCOR IR (Recovery) - Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are no longer forecast to occur.
TCCOR Storm Watch - Although destructive winds are subsided or currently no longer forecasted, there is still a possibility of danger due to the proximity of the storm and due to the un-forecasted changes in storm track and/or strength.
TCCOR All Clear - The threat of severe weather is over. Return to TCCOR IV.
For the duration of Typhoon Season, MCAS Iwakuni remains at a minimum of TCCOR IV. American Forces Network radio, Channel 16 or the official MCAS Iwakuni Facebook page will provide information on current TCCOR conditions and instructions for residents if the station goes into a TCCOR beyond IV.