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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Typhoon Warnings via Facebook and Twitter

U.S. military on Okinawa turns to social media as typhoon season nears (

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — As the tropical storm season descends on Okinawa, U.S. military officials are telling base residents to keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information.

Social networking proved to be an important tool two months ago in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan, and again this week when Tropical Storm Aere passed by the island, according to Kadena Air Base spokesman Ed Gulick.

“Facebook has become very important for us,” Gulick said, explaining that posted messages are instant, as opposed to the time it takes to update conventional communication channels. Everything from Kadena’s official website to commander’s TV access channels to the roadside marquees takes time. “And you have to be on base” to see the latter two, he said.

The Facebook pages of Kadena, AFN Okinawa and Marine Corps Bases Japan boast more than 14,000 followers combined.


One bit of good news is there is little danger of a Katrina-style fishbowl on Okinawa, which is “built to withstand typhoons and built to shed water, not hold it,” Paslay said. He cited Typhoon Chaba last fall, which dumped 12 inches of rain on Okinawa “and it wasn’t an issue.”

Okinawa remains in seasonal TCCOR-4 from June 1 to November 30, since storms can form even right over the island without warning, officials said. Guam remains in TCCOR-4 year-round.

Tropical cyclones tend to lose most of their strength as they move north toward Japan and Korea, but can still pack a powerful punch and shouldn’t be taken lightly, officials said."

*More information about TCCOR (Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness) and what they mean to U.S. military bases and personnel can be found here: LINK

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