Destructive weather preparations underway in Area I
April 17, 2009
RED CLOUD GARRISON - Every year Korea experiences seasonal rains from June 1 through Sept. 30. These rains can cause floods, which are one of weather's most deadly hazards. Floods come in two varieties, flash floods and the kind often called 'river floods' or 'main stream floods.'
The name flash flood tells the story. They occur when heavy rain or a broken dam cause a sudden rise in the level of a stream, often a small, harmless-looking stream. Floods, especially flash floods, kill more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, wind storms or lightning.
The USAG-RC commander and his staff are aware of these threats and are taking mitigation actions now to lessen their effects by taking risk assessments of facilities, exercise locations, training areas and closed facilities.
"Historically, about twice a year typhoons make landfall in Korea with accompanying damage by high winds and local flooding from heavy rains," said Dustin Welin, emergency operations and plans specialist, Directorate for Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. "Monsoons and typhoons, during a 30 to 40 day period, account for more than 50 percent of Korean's annual rainfall. Upon receipt of a destructive weather advisory, point warning, or flood warning, units and individuals initiate response procedures to protect life, equipment and property."
Lessons learned from past disasters have caused U.S. military officials to have plans and people on the installation prepared for their parts. Key elements of the severe weather plan include: planning, flood warning, destructive weather, post-destructive weather recovery and lessons learned.
"In1998, the flood waters weakened part of the mountain that overlooks Camp Stanley," said Doug Wessel, operations, plans and security officer, DPTMS. "The terrific weight and power of the water sent mud, rocks and large boulders crashing down the mountain. Furthermore, four U.S. Soldiers and more than 300 Korean civilians were killed during the 1998 monsoon season. In 1999, a 2nd Infantry Division Soldier died in a flash flood in Warrior Country, and the rains of 2006 caused floods at USAG-Casey golf course."
During emergency conditions, the action phase of a plan goes into gear.
"Preparing for disaster helps everyone accept the fact that disasters do happen, and provides an opportunity to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs after a disaster," Welin said. "Preparation helps; when people feel prepared, they cope better."