ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
The tropical climate of Guam leaves the possibility for a variety of weather scenarios and Team Andersen follows set procedures to stay mission-ready in the event of a weather emergency.
Because Guam is in the middle of tropical waters, it is accustomed to tropical depressions, tropical storms and typhoons. A tropical depression is a tropical low-pressure system with sustained winds usually greater than 29 mph, but less than 39 mph. A tropical storm is the same thing, except with sustained winds between 39 mph and 74 mph; typhoons have sustained winds of 74 mph or more.
While these systems can often influence Guam's weather, it is rare that a tropical storm or typhoon will strike the island.
On average, the Asia-Pacific Pacific will experience approximately 30 tropical storms a year. The months of October and November show the highest risk of a typhoon striking.
"Sometimes we do not have a lot of time to react and prepare due to how quickly typhoons can develop in our area," said Senior Airman Jennifer Palacios, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather flight forecaster. "Especially in this area, we must be prepared to weather the effects when we get hit by one."
Members of Team Andersen should stay tuned to weather watches and warnings, and have a plan in the event of a tropical storm. This includes keeping a typhoon kit with supplies, having a safe area to take cover and paying close attention to safety advisories and their meaning.
"Be careful when wind advisories and warnings are issued in conjunction with typhoon activity," said Tech. Sgt. Vernee White, 36th OSS weather flight's noncommissioned officer in charge. "Just because winds appear to be calm or not as severe doesn't mean that there can't be a sudden onset of winds that can possibly cause debris to become airborne and cause harm to you or your family."
There are four tropical cyclone conditions of readiness codes referred to as TCCOR levels that help servicemembers to prepare for typhoon weather.
TCCOR 4 signifies destructive winds anticipated within 72 hours, this is the time to stock up on essential food items and supplies. Guam is always under TCCOR 4 due to the tropical climate and likelihood of a typhoon.
At TCCOR 3, personnel should secure all outdoor fixtures or move them indoors. This TCCOR signifies destructive winds within 48 hours.
Upon reaching TCCOR 2, personnel should complete all prior TCCOR checklists and continue to monitor TV and radio for weather updates. TCCOR 2 signifies destructive winds expected within 24 hours.
Once under TCCOR 1, destructive winds are expected within 12 hours. At this point all non-mission essential operations are to cease.
For more information on typhoon preparedness visit www.andersen.af.mil
and click on our typhoon preparation link or contact the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron's emergency management flight at 366-3113.