Typhoon and Hurricane Survival Tips and Advice
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 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.
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.
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 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
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!
For More Typhoon Tips
- Okinawa Travel Guide Blog: Typhoon Tips
Full list of what you would need for a typhoon kit plus more resources on tracking typhoons.