Typhoon season on the Korean peninsula occurs May 15 through Nov. 30. Surrounded by bodies of water, the Korean peninsula is subject to typhoons that cause heavy showers and hazardous weather conditions. For U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Far East District (FED), processes are in place to protect employees, construction sites, and the surrounding community. Professionals do a smooth transition, shifting gears in preparation for typhoons.
According to the American Red Cross, a typhoon is a union of clouds and thunderstorms rotating above tropical or subtropical waters. The difference between a hurricane and a typhoon is the location where the storm occurs.
“Know your risk,” said James Dean, Far East District emergency manager. “These storms are not just a coastal threat. Extreme flooding and damaging winds could occur hundreds of miles inland from the coast.
“Please be prepared for the worst case and keep your family safe,” said Dean. “If you oversee a construction site, ensure you review your typhoon checklist from Construction Division,” he said, addressing FED personnel.
Chad Mcleod, FED (acting) deputy district engineer and Construction Division chief, explains FED’s construction site procedures during a possible typhoon.
“We monitor the weather in close coordination with the Garrison,” said Mcleod. "When we recognize the potential of typhoon damage, we start a button-down procedure. The contractors implement the items listed on the checklist, with review by our construction reps at designated times, before impact, usually one day before.”
The FED typhoon construction checklist focuses on storm water pollution prevention, securing temporary structures, securing materials, and tower cranes on each FED construction site throughout the peninsula.
Tower cranes, used to build tall structures, are visible when driving by construction areas. According to Andrew Rajala, (acting) Construction Division chief and FED Humphreys Area Office engineer, seeing a crane spin during a high-wind typhoon is probable.
“The crane is structurally designed to withstand high winds and has a setting to rotate 360 degrees, to align with the wind direction, and minimize the risk of damage, said Rajala. “This adjustment also lowers the crane’s wind resistance.”
Because typhoon season occurs annually in Korea, FED continues to follow standard operating procedures for the safety of the jobsite, workers, and installations.
To prepare for typhoon season and other inclement weather emergencies, here are a few tips from the FED emergency manager:
-Begin planning. Know what you’ll do if a storm is coming to your area, how to stay in touch with family and friends, and where you will go if your home is unsafe. For preparedness and planning tips visit https://www.ready.gov/ and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center https://www.metoc.navy.mil/jtwc/jtwc.html
-Make a kit. Make sure you have non-perishable food items, water, essential documents, flashlights, a battery back or other means of charging your cell phone, toys or comfort items for kids, and any supplies needed for your pet. Have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours but prepare to be on your own for up to a week. Learn more, at https://www.ready.gov/kit.
-For FED employees, ensure your cell phone is registered in the FED ALERT system. If you have questions on how to register your cell phone in the FED ALERT system, contact the Emergency Manager, James Dean at email firstname.lastname@example.org or call DSN 755-6160.
-Pay attention to weather forecasts in your area provided by local news outlets or AFN.
-Always follow the guidance of your Garrison Commander and your local Korean officials during an emergency.
-Know your zone. If you live in a coastal area, become familiar with community evacuation plans, evacuation zones, and evacuation routes. Where will you go and how will you get there?