News: TCCOR conditions prepare for typhoons, reduces potential risks
Story by Pfc. David Walters
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, received Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness 2 Oct. 7, 2013, at 9 a.m. as Typhoon Danas neared station.
Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness are guidelines to help keep families and servicemembers safe and reduce potential hazards associated with cyclones and typhoons.
“We have a billion dollars worth of aircraft, another billion dollars worth of infrastructure, not to mention the thousands of Marines out there,” said Lt. Col. James Walker, station air field operations officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “We still have to make sure everything is put up, and there’s no debris out on the airfield.
Walker also said it’s important to ensure all aircraft are stored away in hangars.
The United States Navy uses TCCOR in Japan to help prepare for destructive weather from tropical cyclones, or typhoons. The conditions, according to United States Forces, Japan Instruction 15-4001, are as follows:
Storm Watch: Heightened state of alert pertaining to the probability of entering more severe TCCOR conditions.
TCCOR 4: Winds of 58 miles per hour sustained or greater are possible within 72 hours.
TCCOR 3: Winds of 58 mph sustained or greater are possible within 48 hours.
TCCOR 2: Winds of 58 mph sustained or greater are anticipated in 24 hours.
TCCOR 1: Winds of 58 mph sustained or greater are anticipated within 12 hours.
TCCOR 1 Caution: Winds of 39-56 mph sustained are occurring.
TCCOR 1 Emergency: Winds of 58 mph sustained or greater are occurring.
Storm Clear: The storm is over and not forecast to return, but storm damage could still present a danger.
All Clear: Storm is over and not forecast to return, and recovery efforts are complete.
It is extremely difficult to issue a TCCOR 1 warning for the station and be hit directly because of the topography according to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel A. Young, the station weather service officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
“The mountains essentially protect us from everything,” said Young. “It works out excellent for us. We’ll see large lines of thunderstorms approaching the air station, but because of all the mountains to our west, they hit those mountains and they dissipate right there. We will get a little rain from the top of them and that’s it.”
Tropical cyclones can occur at any time, but tropical cyclone season for the station is June 1 to Nov. 30 with a majority of cyclones occurring from August to early October. Tropical cyclones tend to create storm surges, which is an offshore rise of water. Storm surges consist of larger than average waves and rising sea levels that flood the shoreline and surrounding areas.
“If anybody has any concerns about storm surges, because of the mountains around us it’s almost impossible,” said Young. “In our topography, there are mountains all around us and islands all around us and it’s not going to happen.”
Young also stated that the possibility of a tsunami striking MCAS Iwakuni is non-existent.
Given an average of 20 to 25 typhoons occurring each year in the Pacific Ocean, approximately half come over or near Japan according to www.yamasa.org.
Typhoon Danas did not strike MCAS Iwakuni, but station residents should always be prepared by keeping a sufficient amount of food and supplies to last a few days, given the possibility of a typhoon strike on station.