Typhoon Season for Our Marine!

Tracking Typhoon Bolaven

The promised typhoon post is timely….because Okinawa just suffered its worst one in 50 years. (Our Marine, and everyone else, is fine. This isn’t the first rodeo for the Japanese; they know how to plan and build for these stinkers.)

Typhoon Bolaven didn’t receive a lot of coverage here, since everyone was busy getting acquainted with Isaac in the Gulf. But Bolaven made a beeline for Okinawa, and they experienced 50+ knot winds for something like 72 hours. Sean’s only comment so far (on Sunday evening) was, “Storm slowing but still at 1E.”

1 what? Over in those parts, the military uses a system called TCCOR (Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness; hey, it’s the military and they love their acronyms). TCCOR 1E (for “emergency”) is the worst, when winds are 50 knots or higher. Everyone is restricted to their (well-built) homes and barracks until the “all clear” is given.

The bases remain in TCCOR 4 throughout the typhoon season, which coincides with the US season (June through November).

The region between the international date line and southeast Asia hosts the most hurricanes/typhoons anywhere on the globe. Whereas our hurricanes form when the Sahara belches a blast of really hot air over the Atlantic, typhoons come from the “monsoon trough” in the western Pacific. Bolaven was the 18th named storm of the year. We’re only up to #9 here. The Navy (who has, as you might imagine, a passing interest in storms at sea, especially of the dangerous variety) operates the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and issues regular updates (much like the National Hurricane Center) for anything in the region.

AP photo of a Bolaven wave crashing over the seawall on Okinawa

A typhoon is exactly the same as a hurricane, just in the Pacific. They rotate counter-clockwise just like ours, and they often throw off tornadoes just like ours. NOAA has an interesting FAQ about hurricanes and typhoons.

I also keep an eye on earthquake activity, since Okinawa sits right on a tectonic plate boundary. Since he arrived in March, several small earthquakes have occurred in the seas around Okinawa. Several small earthquakes are much better than one big one.)

I suppose anywhere one lives, one must cope with forces of nature. (I’ve heard that companies move data centers here to San Antonio because we don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes or earthquakes as frequently as other regions.)  At least the Marines are prepared for such situations and know what to do.


Posted on August 29, 2012, in III MEF, Military Parent, Okinawa, US Marine Corps and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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