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Typhoons
Some things to remember for safety in a storm.

What is a Typhoon?
If you are from Miami or certain other parts of the United States, you might be familiar with hurricanes. In Okinawa, these violent tropical cyclones are called typhoons, and they hit here often, rating as the most serious natural disaster to strike the islands. Since Okinawa is located in a subtropical area, typhoons are likely to reach here when at their peak. Areas of low pressure developing in the tropics are called tropical cyclones, and when their wind speed reaches more than 17 meters per second, they are called typhoons. The number of typhoons hitting Okinawa varies from year to year. A year with relatively few typhoons results in a scarcity of water, while on the other hand a year with many typhoons sees heavy damage in Okinawa, with strong winds, heavy rainfall and high waves wreaking havoc on crops, fisheries and buildings, even affecting the tourism industry. In order to be prepared for a typhoon, you should regularly check typhoon warnings in the paper and on TV and radio. If you are on base, you can consult the typhoon conditions used island-wide by U.S. Forces personnel. If you live off base and are concerned about a typhoon, contact your municipal office so that they can guide you to the municipal hall where injury or other damage can be minimized.
While every hurricane has a name, a typhoon -- at least in Japan -- is usually designated by its number in order of occurrence. Although the scale of a typhoon is not as large as that of a hurricane, it can inflict tremendous damage. A total of 5,098 people were killed or missing as a result of a typhoon that hit mainland Japan in 1959. Most Okinawan houses are made of concrete in order to prevent damage from typhoons; however, their strong winds and heavy rain can still cause severe damage. Typhoon No. 16, which hit Okinawa in 2002, was so powerful that Okinawa remained inside the storm zone for 29 hours, cutting many households off from basic services. Some residents were killed and many suffered injuries; houses, telephone poles, signs and trees were blown down as well. Crop damage was estimated at more than 3 billion, the worst in Okinawa's history. Even if a typhoon is relatively small, its maximum wind speed is quite strong, blowing pieces of wood, signs, flowerpots and other small items around. It's also dangerous to drive small cars during a typhoon in Okinawa.

Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR)
The following list is used island-wide by the U.S. Forces personnel in Japan to prevent injury and property damage through awareness and preparation.

ConditionDescriptionActions to Take
TC-4Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 72 hours.It is now time to stock up on food, water, and other living supplies.
TC-3Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 48 hours.Initiate a general cleanup of outside areas.
TC-2Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 24 hours.Secure your living area and tie up any loose items to prevent injuries or damage.
TC-1Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are possible within 12 hours.DoDD schools are closed. Make final checks of food, water, batteries, and other living supplies.
TC-1C
(Caution)
Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are anticipated within 12 hours.Winds of 34 to 49 knots are now occurring. Stay inside. Other than those with urgent military or civil missions, all are released from work.
TC-1E
(Emergency)
Destructive winds of 50 knots or greater are occurring.Power failure may occur. All outdoor activities are prohibited. Stay tuned to AFN radio or television for current typhoon information (AFN 648AM/89.1FM, TV channel 6 or 8).
TC-1R
(Recovery)
Destructive winds passed but winds of 34 to 49 knots are still occurring.All outside activity is prohibited except for damage assessment and repair teams to begin operations.
TC-1SW
(Storm Watch)
The typhoon is moving away; however, there might be hazardous areas that the storm has damaged.Normal activities are resumed, but be cautious of the storm's unpredictability. Beware of hazardous areas caused by the storm.
All ClearAll tropical cyclone danger has passed.DoDD schools restart if during class hours. Be alert to hazardous areas where the storm has caused damage.

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