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Typhoon and Hurricane Survival Tips and Advice

Updated on December 2, 2012

How to Survive a Typhoon or Hurricane

I lived for 10 years on a small tropical island in the Pacific Ocean called Okinawa. While it is part of Japan, it is much further south than the Japanese mainland, and also experiences many more typhoons than the rest of Japan. In the 10 years living on Okinawa, I often survived 1-4 typhoons a year and sometimes as many as 5-7 typhoons in one year.

So with this experience, I want to share my best tips for surviving a typhoon.

Note: For those who might not know, a typhoon is basically the same as a hurricane, just located in a different part of the world. So these tips can also be useful for surviving a hurricane.


Typhoon Season

View of a Typhoon from satellite
View of a Typhoon from satellite
Tracking a Typhoon
Tracking a Typhoon | Source

Typhoon Survival Tips – Preparing for Typhoon Season

Typhoon and Hurricane seasons occur every year around the same time. In the Atlantic Ocean area, hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th every year. Typhoon season is very similar in the Pacific Ocean Area, running from May 15th through November 30th. During these months, I suggest you follow these practical typhoon tips:

Have 5-7 Days-Worth of Bottled Water and Food

As the typhoon season begins, grab a few gallons or packages of bottled water along with some foods that will last at air temperature for several months. Some food ideas include: peanut butter, crackers, ramen noodles, and any canned goods. I suggest a variety, and enough for as much as a week. One never knows if the Typhoon will last longer than it is supposed to, or be stronger than forecast.

Don’t Try to Shop for Food Right Before the Typhoon Hits

This is a very common mistake many people make that usually leads to waiting in long lines nervously thinking about getting home before the storm starts doing more than blowing sheets of rain down on you and your car. Avoid this by purchasing items you might need before the typhoon season gets underway. This will save you time and stress.

Avoid an Overstocked Refrigerator or Freezer

The power does not always go out in a typhoon, but if it does, you run the risk of losing anything in your refrigerator/freezer. So avoid stocking up on expensive steaks or hams during typhoon season and keep a manageable amount of food in your refrigerator. I can tell you from experience; it is not fun to lose everything in your over-stuffed freezer. Although eating ice cream for breakfast is fun…

Keep Outdoor Items Secured

Before a typhoon or hurricane arrives, it is imperative to secure everything you have outside. Tie down chairs, tables, potted plants, bikes, and anything that is loose. It makes it much easier if most of your stuff is already secured. So before typhoon season, try securing any items you don’t use very often, like certain child toys or patio furniture. It will make cleaning up for a typhoon a little less frantic.


Photo's During a Typhoon
Photo's During a Typhoon | Source
Photo's During a Typhoon
Photo's During a Typhoon | Source
Flooding and Damage from Typhoon
Flooding and Damage from Typhoon | Source

Typhoon Survival Tips – What to do During a Typhoon

The typhoon or hurricane is imminent; you can already see the wind blowing the rain around, but now what will you do? Well, here are my best survival tips for during a typhoon or hurricane:

Throw a Typhoon Party!

Yes, you read that correctly, have a typhoon/hurricane party. It is WAY more fun to have friends around while you are waiting for the typhoon to pass and it is a great excuse to get together and have a really fun time. Simply invite your friends over before the storm gets too bad, and plan a few fun activities to do while the typhoon passes by. I have participated in many typhoon parties, and they can be a great success. Keep reading for some of the possible activities one can enjoy during a typhoon.

Go to the Seawall or Beach

If you live near the ocean as I did while living on Okinawa, it is fun to visit the seawall. I suggest visiting either before the storm gets bad, or after it has mostly passed. Always be careful because waves can be much larger than expected. Try finding a vantage point a safe distance away to watch the waves break. I had friends who lived on the 5th floor of an apartment building next to a seawall and we would watch huge waves break on the seawall from there.

Eat all Your Food that is Going Bad Because You Lost Power

Sometimes you lose power, so instead of being sad, make a large feast for all your friends! Alternately, if you heeded an earlier tip and kept your refrigerator minimally stocked, you can put these items into a cooler with ice and save them.

Watch Movies (until the power goes out)

Typhoons are the perfect opportunity to embark on a movie marathon. Ever watched all the Lord of the Rings movies at one time? Or perhaps the Matrix movies? Choose a favorite series and watch until you drop, or at least until the power goes out.

Play board games

Board games can be a lot of fun, and are a fine option for when the power goes out and all you have is candlelight. Always keep a supply of favorite games handy. Some of my family and friends favorite games include: Uno, Blokus, Monopoly (and Monopoly Deal), Sorry, Pictionary, Balderdash, and many card games.

Go Shopping!

Bet you didn’t think of this one! On the island of Okinawa, it is common for most stores to close during a typhoon. However, all the malls and larger shopping centers stay open during typhoons. So, when that movie marathon grinds to an end, or you just can’t stay home any longer, got out shopping! (note: this may not be an option for everyone.)

Shoot off Fireworks

Typhoons are a good time for shooting off fireworks because there tends to be large amounts of rain to keep anything from catching on fire. Find an open field, and shoot off a few bottle rockets and watch as they go in the opposite direction that you shot them because of the wind. It can be fun to shoot them into the wind and see where they end up. Just don’t do anything really stupid.


Aftermath of Typhoons

Typhoon Debris and Trees
Typhoon Debris and Trees | Source
Damage to car after Typhoon
Damage to car after Typhoon | Source

Typhoon Survival Tips – After the Typhoon is Gone

Once the typhoon or hurricane has passed, there are still things to do. Usually there is a lot of clean up to do, but here are some other post typhoon tips:

Get Outside and Enjoy the Calmer Weather

You have probably been stuck inside for much of the typhoon, so get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Who knows, maybe even the sun will come out.

Clean up Branches and Trash

While you enjoy the fresh air, pick up any branches or trash that has blown into your yard. Sometimes there is a lot to do, but just start in one area and clean that first, then move on to other parts of your yard. Enlist the help of anyone else at your house including children or friends.

Give Your Neighbors Back Their Items that Blew Away

There are always neighbors who forgot to secure things and didn’t read these tips. So grab that trashcan or lawn chair that ended up in your yard and kindly take it back to your neighbor. Perhaps even mention this hub as a future reference for them to better prepare for the next typhoon.

Drive Around and Survey the Damage (Only if Safe!)

If you have friends or family in the area, consider driving over to their houses and helping with cleanup or anything else. Always be careful of electrical wires and fallen trees or branches. It is always a bit of a surreal experience to see the aftermath of a strong storm.

Extreme Weather Survival

Conclusion

I have been through some very strong typhoons with winds exceeding 150 MPH. Fortunately the island I lived on was very accustomed to these storms with buildings and houses all made of concrete. I have been able to enjoy the fun side of typhoons but not every part of the world is as prepared as where I lived. Many places around the world are devastated by typhoons and hurricanes and my hope is these tips will supply some better knowledge and a little confidence to those who might experience a typhoon or hurricane in the future.

Post your thoughts and any other typhoon or hurricane survival tips in the comments!

Comments

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  • internpete profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter V 

    5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

    Joanmaynard - That is a really good tip! I lived on an island in the pacific for about 10 years where we got several typhoons a year, and at least 2 or 3 typhoons that were 100-150mph. But the island I lived on was all set up for this kind of weather with concrete houses and telephone poles, and really good drainage so we rarely lost power and never lost water. So I don't always think about certain situations that occur elsewhere. Thanks for your comment!

  • Joanmaynard profile image

    Joan 

    5 years ago from St Kitts

    Hey there. I was not going to say anything on this one but being that I am front the Caribbean, I thought it only right to say my bit. Before I do, I have to commend you on the organized way you presented your info on hurricane survival which isreally good stuff.

    One thing that helps me during this time: I usually fill containers with water just in case the water goes, yo uwill have water to bath with. So if you have a 5 gallon container ( or bigger) about 2 days before the typhoon of hurricane, fills these containers up. If the watre does note go, that will be great news. But if it does... you won't have to use your drinking water to bath with, and you will be thankful that you did.

  • internpete profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter V 

    5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

    blueandgreen - Thanks! I am glad you found this useful!

  • blueandgreen profile image

    nagib mahfuz 

    5 years ago from Bangladesh

    very informative. i like this. voted up :)

  • internpete profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter V 

    5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

    Jason Matthews - Thanks for reading and commenting! Yes, some of the most severe typhoons I have experienced lasted for several days, so a weeks worth of food is just playing it safe.

  • Jason Matthews profile image

    Jason Matthews 

    5 years ago from North Carolina

    You have written a very practical and informative hub on an important topic. I thought your "what to do during a typhoon" was very funny! Also, it is good to know that we should have at least 5-7 days worth of food ready. Thanks for sharing this!

  • internpete profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter V 

    6 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

    Ann M Reid - Ha! That's great about the salsa! And yes, Flashlights are very good to have around! Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  • Ann M Reid profile image

    Ann M Reid 

    6 years ago from Lancaster County, PA

    Good advice! Also, make sure to have flash lights and batteries. If your power goes out too often, you might consider a generator, too. I liked the party idea. Last fall I was caught making salsa with windfall tomatoes that a local Amish farmer gave me that were slightly damaged in the first hurricane. A week later I was still making salsa (and giving it to all the neighbors out on the street discussing how high they thought the river was going to go) with those tomatoes when the second hurricane hit and knocked out the power. Next hurricane I am gonna make sure I have enough chips for all that salsa! We already bought the generator!

  • internpete profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter V 

    6 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

    kashmir56 - Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • kashmir56 profile image

    Thomas Silvia 

    6 years ago from Massachusetts

    Hi internpete this is all great information and advice to help anyone plan and survive in a typhoon or hurricane, well done !

    Vote up and more !!!

  • internpete profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter V 

    6 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

    dmhenderson - Ah yes, I think you are safe from any hurricanes! Typhoons/hurricanes can be fun if one is prepared for them. Thanks for your comment!

  • dmhenderson profile image

    Dave Henderson 

    6 years ago from Missouri, USA

    Since I live in Missouri, I suppose these tips will not be of great use to me, but it does give me a good idea of what kind of things go on during a typhoon.

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