Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tropical Storm--Check!! Time to Hunker Down!

So, on the positive side, I guess I'll be able to check off another experience on my running list of interesting things I've done or seen. Lived through a tropical storm--check! Unfortunately, this experience happens to be a little more nerve-racking than other experiences on my list because I don't have a category in my brain in which to plug this one. When I rode an elephant in Thailand, I plugged it into my category of "Things Ridden" (horses, bucking mechanical bull, ornery ram, surf boards, skate boards, and bicycles). Okay, so as I approached the elephant, my brain could anticipate the general sensation of movement not of my own, the need for balance, and the fact that I would be higher than usual. Now, tropical storms . . . hmmmmm . . . oddly no category comes to mind. I have a few nebulous shemata by which to make a possible connection: earthquakes, heavy rain, fairly strong winds that would occassionally whip down off Mount Diablo and weaken our backyard fence in CA; but, oddly enough, tropical storms don't seem to fit. So, as a result, I blindly follow the instructions posted on the front page of the local newspaper and the Guam Homeland Security Office. Speaking of which, I have cut and pasted below their Conditions of Readiness and terms (we are in condition 1 for a tropical storm). Believe me, I am following all instructions to a tee. We are hunkered down in our 100% concrete and rebar bunker (aka "house"), typhoon shutters are secured, and the trampoline has been taken down and stored. But seriously, please pray for the many people on Guam who live in plywood and tin houses. They are presently displaced from their homes and are in emergency shelters.

The Guam Homeland Security Office of Civil Defense has established conditions of readiness to prepare for a storm.
The Conditions of readiness are based on the onset of damaging winds of 39 mph.

Condition of Readiness 4
Damaging winds may arrive on the island within 72 hours
What this means: day-to-day activities are normal

Condition of Readiness 3
Damaging winds may arrive within 48 hours
Review, update your family disaster plan
Buy and replenish supplies for your disaster supply kit
Fill up car(s) with gas
Secure outdoor objects
Prepare household for long term power and water loss (laundry, outdoor cooking, etc.)
Tune into radio and/or television

Condition of Readiness 2
Damaging winds may arrive within 24 hours
Close and secure shutters
Fill containers with water
Move vehicles to a secure and protected area
Review family disaster plan with entire family
Seek emergency shelter if home is not fully concrete or prepared to withstand damaging winds.
Tune into radio and/or television.

Condition of Readiness 1
Damaging winds are occuring or expected within 12 hours
Only mission essential personnel and vehicles are allowed outside
Tune in to weather news

Depression: General term for a low-pressure tropical weather system with rotary circulation and accompanying rain.
Tropical disturbance: A moving area of thunderstorms in the tropics that maintains its identity for 24 hours or more.
Tropical depression: A tropical cyclone with rotary wind circulation and maximum sustained surface winds of 38 mph.
Tropical storm: A tropical cyclone with distinct circulation and wind speeds of 39 to 73 mph.
Typhoon: A tropical cyclone with strong pronounced rotary winds and maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph.
Supertyphoon: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained wind speed in excess of 149 mph.


judie wilson said...

hang on tight!! we'll be praying for your safety

Jen said...

OK, excuse me for not commenting on the bigger issue of the have a trampoline??!

Eric and Karyn Sorenson said...

Jen, yes, we have a trampoline which we had purchased for the older two of our four children (that was 13 years ago). It was the best "toy" purchase we've ever made. That trampoline has been a constant in the lives of our kids. Sadly, between it age and the intense weather here, it is beginning to tear. Don't think it's in our budget to replace it and our kids will be awfully sad to see it go.

Jana said...

We are praying for you. Christian contacted Marcus to pray. I can't even imagine. They said on the news that some of the winds were in access of 500 miles an hour???? Is that possible??? Wow I'm with you how do you wrap your brain around that.

Loretta said...

I was so happy to hear the bigger storm had past Guam. I was maybe to pop up the newspaper from Guam to found out about the storm. I'm glad you are safe and had adequate housing.