Typhoon Bualoi is expected to be a Category 2 typhoon with maximum winds near 110 mph when it passes through the CNMI late Monday night. It is projected to pass 50 to 60 miles north-northeast of Saipan and its movement has increased slightly from 9mph to 13 mph.
Typhoon force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center. Tropical storm force winds extend up to 130 miles northwest of the center, and up to 55 miles southwest of the center.
President Donald J. Trump has approved a second emergency declaration for the CNMI due to the threat of Bualoi, two weeks after Super Typhoon Hagibis passed north of Saipan on the way to its destructive path toward Japan (See related story).
Saipan and Tinian remain under Typhoon Condition 1. That means damaging winds of 39 miles per hour or more are expected by Monday evening, and typhoon force winds of 74 mph or more are possible Monday night.
Rota remains under Typhoon Condition 3, while Alamagan, Pagan, and Agrihan remain under Tropical Storm Condition 3. Tropical Storm Watch has been cancelled for Guam.
As of 2pm yesterday, the National Weather Service in Guam said that Typhoon Bualoi is making its way just north of Saipan. With this course, Saipan and Tinian are expected to face severe tropical storm winds late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning.
Bualoi is expected to intensify further in the next couple of days.
The NWS reports that Bualoi is expected to pass over Anatahan, similar to Super Typhoon Hagibis’ course a week ago, but assured that it will not be a super typhoon when it passes through the CNMI.
NWS also received several inquiries if Bualoi would be similar as Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit Saipan and Tinian last October 2018. That is not likely, the agency assured, saying that rapid intensification is unlikely at this time, nor will Bualoi will make a direct pass over Saipan or Tinian.
The U.S. Coast Guard has closed down the seaports of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 12 hours.
With Bualoi’s approach to the CNMI and its continued intensification, seas are beginning to build and winds are beginning to increase, particularly in Saipan and Tinian waters. Northeast winds of 17 to 20 mph have begun to increase, winds are expected to reach tropical storm force in a matter of hours and could increase to typhoon force winds Monday night, especially in northern Saipan waters; winds will quickly decrease Tuesday. Six- to 8-foot seas are starting to build, seas could reach 20 feet late Monday afternoon and could possible reach up to 40 feet early Tuesday morning in Northern Saipan waters near Bualoi’s center.
Damaging winds are currently not expected to hit Rota;, however, a slight southward shift in the track of Bualoi could bring in destructive winds. Seas of up to 6 to 8 feet are increasing already and could reach between 15 and 20 feet Monday night before subsiding Tuesday.
The public and inexperienced mariners, especially those operating small vessels, are advised to avoid sailing in these conditions.
Bank of Guam announced Monday that its Saipan and Tinian branches were closed yesterday. Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank had half-day schedules yesterday: BOH was open until 1pm and FHB was open until 12pm yesterday. All banks will reopen once it has been deemed safe to do so.
The CNMI Public School System announced yesterday that the Tanapag Middle School has been added to the list of emergency shelters.
By 3pm yesterday, Koblerville Elementary School, Kagman High School, and Marianas High School were already at full capacity. The remaining available shelters on Saipan are Tanapag Middle School, Dandan Head Start, Chalan Kanoa Head Start, and the Saipan Aging Center (for medical needs only). Tinian Elementary School serves as the emergency shelter for Tinian residents and is still accepting shelterees as of press time.
The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. will provide shelter for pregnant women who are at least 32 weeks pregnant or experiencing preterm labor.
Expectant mothers on Saipan are asked to check in at the Labor and Delivery ward of the Commonwealth Health Center, where they will be assessed for either admission or the option to shelter on-site in a designated area. Residents of Tinian and Rota can report to the Tinian and Rota Health Centers, respectively.
Residents with other medical concerns, including those who need medical devices that require electricity, are asked to report to the Aging Office. Contact (670) 664-2690 for transportation to shelters.
CHCC recommends that all residents make sure they have enough of their medications to last at least one week.
CHCC announced yesterday that its clinics and outpatient services will be closed today, Tuesday, and will re-open tomorrow, Wednesday. All other CHCC services and administrative offices are closed pending further updates.