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Uncertainty ahead as typhoon season nears

Date Posted: 2009-05-07

Officially, the 2009 typhoon season doesnユt begin until June 1st, but Kujira and Chan-hom didnユt get the message.
Tropical Storm Kujira became the first named storm of the not-yet-started season with its deadly race across the western Pacific beginning last week, slamming into the central Philippines. Then continuing northeast, skirting just east of Iwo Jima a couple days ago. Kujira was deadly, killing up to twenty and leaving others injured. Thousands were left homeless by the tropical storm, which ripped through Legaspi Province 372 miles south of Manila. Kujira caused flash flooding, destroyed bridges and forced massive evacuations.
At the same time, Tropical Storm Chan-hom is racing toward the Philippines with an arrival time now forecast for Friday. Chan-hom is expected to be packing winds of 74kph (46mph) when it roars ashore north of Manila. Kujira was named by Japan, while Chan-hom by the Peopleユs Democratic Republic of Laos. The Philippines is typically hit by 20 or more typhoons each year. This yearユs rainy season began early.
Theyユre the first, but certainly not he only tropical storms or typhoons expected to spawn in east Asia this season. Meteorological analysts have differing views on how severe the season will be, with some predicting moderate-to-severe storms activity, while others express confidence it could be a slow season. Either way, everyone agrees that the number will exceed ten named storms.
Linfa, a name chosen by Macau, is next. Nongka, a Malaysian name, Soudelor by Micronesia, Molave by the Philippines, Koni chosen by Korea, Morakot by Thailand, Etau by the United States and Vamoo by Vietnam round out the first ten storms of the season. Asian storm names are chosen by meteorological agencies within the 14 countries and regions of the Asia-Pacific region. Each country decides whether to choose animals, plants or natural habitat, avoiding human names. Japan proposes names after constellations.
Names of particularly deadly typhoons are not recycled, but instead are retired. Sixteen names have been retired since 2001, all of which wreaked havoc in various countries in the region. Only one, Nabi, registered its vengeance in Japan in 2005. Nabi killed 32 and caused damages exceeding $590 million. In 2006, Typhoon Xangsane killed 279 and caused $800 million in damages, while Durian killed 1,497 and left damage price tag of $543 million.
In Arabic, typhoon means deluge. In Greek itユs a whirlwind, while Mandarin Chinese explains it as a great wind. The name typhoon evolved from southern Europe, across Arabia to India, where it was first cast into English in 1588. It was spawned from a severe storm that ripped India, leading officials to combine the Greek and Chinese concepts into the word that today frequently means death and severe destruction in Asia.
Each of the four TCCOR categories and sub-categories has specific requirements and restrictions on service members and the military bases.
For detailed information on different TCCOR categoroes go to http://kadenaservices.com/weather.html.
Shortly before a typhoon strikes Okinawa, the military will declare TCCOR 1-E (Emergency), meaning that all nonessential personnel go indoors and remain until the storm has passed and the all-clear is issued. Once that happens, the military puts the island in TCCOR 1-R (Recovery), which allows some restricted personnel movement.
Preparations for typhoons are being encouraged now, including cleanups around residences and dormitories, and gathering stocks of emergency supplies. The Defense Commissary Agency is encouraging customers to メload up their pantriesモ as part of an awareness campaign encouraging families to keep nonperishable foods, water and other necessities on hand for emergencies. DeCA is teamed with the American Red Crossユ Armed Forces Emergency Services Branch in the メWhatユs In Your Closetモ campaign.
Commissary store directors on Okinawa are taking extra measures to be sure their patrons are prepared for the upcoming season, and Defense Commissary Agency says メwe want to raise awareness of the need to keep emergency supplies on hand, and that shoppers can save 30% or more by using their commissary benefit.モ
The American Red Cross has representatives at commissaries across the island to provide information and answer questions about disaster preparedness. The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are both working closely with local communities and relief organizations to remind residents to make emergency preparations.


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