Iriomote Island Life

A big typhoon is coming! What to do to prevent damage??

台風

Typhoon hit Okinawa many times every year.

And typhoon comes to Okinawa is much stronger and more powerful than that comes to Japan main island!

Moved to Iriomote island, we also experienced a gale and heavy rain caused by typhoon!!

Because it's been so for a long time, people living in Okinawa knows very well how to prevent big damage.

We've learned a lot this time. So, I'd like to share a few tips with you!

What to do 4~5 days before typhoon approach

(参照元:気象庁HP)

People living in Iriomote island for long can forecast when typhoon is born, by seeing an isobar on a weather chart.

So there're some who start rearranging their schedule much earlier than typhoon's birth.

As we don't have such knowledge, however, we start preparing typhoon after typhoon forecast is begun.

Usually, we know typhoon arrival about 4~5 days before closest approach.

Let's start preparing from the bellow!

  1. Forecast when high-speed ferry is cancelled
  2. Check how much food is in fridge
  3. Check whether you have enough flashlights and batteries
  4. Check what to do before typhoon arrival
  5. Fuel a car

Prepare for cancellation of ferry sailing

When typhoon comes closer, the first influence will be at sea.

Even before typhoon arrival, ocean gets rough.

When the sea rages, vessels cannot sail and people have to fasten their ships between mangrove or on the land in order to protect them.

So, high-speed ferry between Ishigaki island and Iriomote island would stop sailing 2 to 3 days before closest arrival of typhoon.

"Should we change when to go to Ishigaki?"
"How big effect would be on our job?"

Thinking the above, let's rearrange your schedule in advance.

Check & buy food and equipments

During the cancellation of ferry, no stores can be supplied.

Food, drinks and all the other items cannot be delivered to islands.

So, check the lack of them and get some in advance.

You'd better prepare blackout, too.

  • Instant noodles and bread (in case of blackout)
  • Vegetables can be kept at room temperature (ex.tomato, cucumber)
  • Snacks and drinks (Alcohols)
  • Flashlights
  • Dry cell batteries
  • Mobile battery
  • Radio (in case cell phone is dead)

Fuel up your car

This is not because heavy car won't be blown away.

What we should be careful is the suspension of gas, water and electricity because of the heavy damage of typhoon.

If the typhoon is too strong, utility poles are broken and it might take several days to get back to normal..

At that time, being able to use air conditioner in your car, you can get rest in cool air and go to anywhere you need to get useful information.

What to do 2~3 days before typhoon approach

(参照元:気象庁HP)

Depends on the size and power of a typhoon, ferry stops sailing 2 or 3 days before typhoon arrival.

If you work in tourism, you should think about safety of your guests first.

  1. Check when high-speed ferry stops sailing
  2. Deal with changes of customer's itinerary when your job is tourism
  3. Clean up around your home
  4. Finish laundry

Check when high-speed ferry stops sailing

It's very important to know when high-speed ferry between Ishigaki island and other islands stops sailing.

Especially when you work in tourism, it's your job to inform customers about safety and ask whether they would change their itinerary and leave Iriomote earlier or they would move to bigger hotel which has private power generators.

There's a risk people cannot leave Iriomote island for a while after typhoon passes by.

Clean up around your home

If there're lots of things around your home, those stuff might be blown off and break the window or cars.

So it's better to tidy up and throw away unnecessary things in advance!

1 day before! Prepare for typhoon!!

(参照元:気象庁HP)

The day before typhoon arrival, let's prepare in earnest!

What to do in details is as bellow.

  1. Close the shutters or Put a safety net
  2. Move your belongings outside into home
  3. Move your car
  4. Charge your smartphone and mobile battery
  5. Freeze ice pack
  6. Throw away kitchen wastes

Close the shutters, put a safety net outside

In Okinawa, many houses have shutters outside windows like the bellow.

Shutters work very well to protect windows from broken.

Close shutters before it blows strong.

Some stores or hotels use safety nets instead of shutters to protect windows.

Move your belongings into home

Put your wash-line pole, bicycles etc into your home in order not to be blown away.

It could cause damage to windows and cars, or hurt someone because of strong wind.

Move your car to a safe place

Because typhoon which comes to Okinawa tends to be very strong, if you park your car where wind blows, car windows could be broken and in the worst case, your car would be turned over.

When you live in Naha city, your car can be moved to indoor parking.

But here in Iriomote island, there're only a few building with garage (parking with roof).

We also park our car outside. So, in order to protect from typhoon this time, we parked between our house and windbreak.

It's important to park the car beside the strong building so that wind becomes a bit weak.

Charge your smartphone & mobile battery

Sadly, blackout often happens at typhoon in Iriomote.

As you can use smartphone to light your feet or get necessary information, it's better to be able to use smartphone as long as possible.

To do so, it's important to charge it full in advance!

In addition, we do recommend to have mobile battery with huge capacity so that it can charge not only smartphones but tablets and WiFi routers.

For your information, mobile battery we bought is as bellow.

We're satisfied to its spec, as it can charge iPhone XS about 5.2 times!!

Thanks to this, we could get rid of anxiety about blackout.

Freeze ice packs

When blackout, you shouldn't open fridge! So prepare ice packs to keep other food cool.

Throw away kitchen wastes

As Taketomi town doesn't pick up kitchen wastes, we usually keep them frozen before throwing out to compost.

If blackout happens and continues, kitchen wastes start to melt and this would be a big problem.

So, it's better to go out to dispose kitchen garbage before typhoon.

Typhoon has come! The last preparation

(参照元:気象省HP)

On the day of typhoon closest arrival, here's some preparation to do at the last.

If typhoon comes early in the morning, finish following steps at the previous evening!

  1. Stop automatic ice maker and pack all ice in bags
  2. Move food to a cooler
  3. Cook dishes in advance
  4. Fill the bathtub with water
  5. Tuck paper in the gaps of doors

Stop automatic ice maker & pack ice in bags

If blackout happens and continues for a while, ice would melt and fridge would be flooded.

So, stop automatic ice maker and put all the ice left into bags so that you can keep your fridge clean and keep other food cool.

Prepare cooler and put food in it

Once blackout occurs, it's important "not to open fridge and freezer"!
To do so, you can save seasoning and food inside of it.

Freezer filled with frozen foods can be kept cool about 2 days.

On the other hand, fridge can't be kept cool so long and you'd get hungry even during blackout.

Therefore, let's put what you eat during typhoon into a cooler filled with ice and ice packs.

When we did that, food in the cooler was cool enough even after 1 day.

Cook dishes in advance of blackout

When blackout, you cannot use electric cooking appliances.

In addition, it's really tough to cook with gas in a room without air conditioner. You wouldn't stop swelling...

If you finish cooking in advance, you don't have to heat up your room during blackout.

(Though you might cook cup noodle with boiled water...)

FYI, What we cooked last time is,,,
  • Yaeyama noodle rice
  • Ketchup-based pasta
  • Fried vegetables
  • Tomato & Tofu caprese
  • Minced meat seasoned with miso(↓this♡)

Fill the bathtub with water

It seems some of toilets work well enough without electricity.

But if you don't know which, it'd be better to keep water in a bathtub so that toilet can flush during blackout.

Tuck paper in gaps of doors and windows without shutters

Have you ever imagined rain would come inside even doors and windows are closely shut?

Because of terrible wind and rain, that situation could happen in Okinawa, where typhoon is very strong. It could be flooded around doors and windows.

Therefore, be aware of gaps especially your house doesn't have shutters!
Tuck papers and prevent rain from getting into home.

Prepare enough and survive typhoon~☆

Finishing all measures, you're ready to stay safe in typhoon.

Once in storm, please keep these in mind;

  1. Don't go out of house!
  2. Take bath during daytime

We did all the above preparation and could stay safe at home during our first big typhoon.

You can know when typhoon would come, so prepare enough beforehand and let's stay as comfortable as possible.