Govt, classes closed today

Posted on Oct 07 2019

All government offices and public schools are closed today, with a typhoon warning remaining in effect on Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Alamagan, Pagan, and Agrihan as of 8:45pm yesterday.

Typhoon conditions, including destructive winds of 74 mph or more, are expected. Damaging winds of 39 mph or more are expected within 24 hours or this afternoon.

All CNMI government offices will be closed today and all Public School System and Northern Marianas College classes are cancelled.

A tropical storm watch remains in effect for Guam. Tropical storm conditions, including damaging winds of 39 mph or more, are possible within 24 to 30 hours.

Hagibis, which is a Filipino term that means “velocity” or “swiftness,” got started east of the CNMI and is continuing west but slightly farther south than before. It is projected to head toward the Northern Islands of the CNMI today or tomorrow.

Shelters on Saipan and Tinian have been activated, while some government agencies were available yesterday to help residents break down tents that have been in place since Super Typhoon Yutu devastated the CNMI late last year.

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. office will be open today from 7:30am to 12pm to include the CUC Customer Center on Saipan, Tinian and Rota for purchasing of prepaid tokens, payments and other transactions. Offices will close soon after to give employees time to secure and further prepare for the storm.

The National Weather Service in Tiyan, Guam said that Tropical Storm Hagibis continues to develop and whirl toward the Marianas.

As of 8pm yesterday, Tropical Storm Hagibis was located about 510 miles east of Saipan, 515 miles east of Tinian, 540 miles east of Rota, about 545 miles east-southeast of Alamagan, about 565 miles east-southeast of Pagan, about 575 miles east of Guam, and about 590 miles east-southeast of Agrihan and was moving west at 20 mph. Maximum sustained winds were at 50mph.

It is expected to maintain a westward motion before turning slightly to the west-northwest today with a slight decrease in forward speed. This current track sends Hagibis through the Marianas just north of Saipan Monday night as a typhoon.

Maximum sustained winds remain at 60 mph. Hagibis will intensify through the night, possibly becoming a typhoon Monday morning.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward from the center up to 100 miles.

Typhoon condition 2 remains over Saipan, Tinian, Alamagan, and Pagan. That means that damaging winds of 74 mph or more are expected within 24 hours. Tropical storm condition 2 remains over Rota and Agrihan

The CNMI Multi-Agency Coordination Team, composed of government agencies and non-profit organizations, met yesterday for a heavy weather briefing provided by the NWS and held a planning and coordination meeting to prepare for Hagibis’ closest point of approach tonight.

The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port for Guam has established Port Heavy Weather Condition “Y” for the ports of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, CNMI as of 8pm last night.

That means gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 24 hours.

All commercial vessels greater than or equal to 200 gross tons must depart and all inbound vessels are prohibited from entering. All pleasure craft shall seek sheltered waters.

Govt, public schools closed

As of 2:40pm yesterday, acting governor Arnold I. Palacios informed all CNMI government department and activity heads that all government offices in the CNMI will be closed today until further notice.

“Because of the anticipated threat of Tropical Storm Hagibis, I have upgraded the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Paga, and Agrihan to Tropical Storm Condition II,” Palacios stated in a 2:43pm bulletin.

“All government offices in the Commonwealth will be closed on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, until further notice,” the statement noted. “The CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, through the CNMI Emergency Operations Center State Warning Point, will maintain a 24-hour operation, monitor the movement of Tropical Storm Hagibis, and issue bulletins as they become available.”

PSS and NMC both announced that they will be cancelling classes and closing offices today. Education Commissioner Glenn Muña said that Koblerville Elementary School, Kagman High School, Marianas High School, and Tinian Elementary School will be used as emergency shelters for residents who may need to evacuate.

The Governor’s Office also deemed the Aging Center as a shelter, however, it is only used for medical needs.

Mount Carmel School and Grace Christian Academy have also announced that there will be no classes today, while Saipan Community School and Saipan International School said they continue to monitor the approach of the storm but school is still on for Monday.

Several businesses like The Shack Saipan and Techniq Yummy Bytes have also informed the public they could be closed today due to the threat of Hagibis.

Assistance for people in tents

Residents who are residing in tents, if able, are advised to go to the shelter closest to them for care, support, and relief during the rainy conditions. The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority has been activated to provide transportation to shelters throughout the day and can be contacted at (670) 664-2690 for transportation to designated shelters.

The CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services with the support from the Department of Corrections, the Saipan Mayor’s Office, and the Department of Public Works have been activated yesterday to assist residents break down their tents; residents can contact (670) 237-2800 for assistance as operators are on standby ready to assist.

Mobil and Shell gas stations saw long lines of people wanting to gas up yesterday; the average wait times were around 30 minutes to an hour. Gas lines are expected to fill up as consumers are preparing for the possibility of gas stations closing today.

Grocery stores were also jam-packed with customers yesterday, eager to stock up on essential supplies for the coming storm.

CHCC provides shelter to high-risk group

The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. said it will provide shelter to pregnant mothers who are at least 32 weeks pregnant, and women experiencing preterm labor.
Expectant mothers are asked to check in at the Labor and Delivery ward of the CHCC (residents of Tinian and Rota should report to the Tinian and Rota health centers respectively) where they will be assessed for either admission or the option to shelter on-site in a designated area.

Monitoring is key

The CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, through the CNMI Emergency Operations Center State Warning point, will maintain a 24-hour operation, monitor the movement of Tropical Storm Hagibis. The Governor’s Office advises the community to keep a close watch on updates to weather forecasts and stay informed on the latest statements and advisories through the EOC’s Facebook page or call (670) 237-8000 or (670) 664-800, the CNMI EOC State Warning Point will be providing a contact frequency for those in the Northern Islands at high frequency single side band radio at 5.205.0, NWS Guam’s Facebook page, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather broadcast at 211 on your phones. (With report from Erwin Encinares)

Marc Venus | Reporter
Marc Venus is the Saipan Tribune's public health and education reporter. He has an associate degree in Applied Sciences in Computer Applications and is working on his bachelor’s degree at the Northern Marianas College. Contact him at
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