2nd typhoon this month expected to pass north of Saipan
With Typhoon Bualoi on track to pass Saipan and Tinian later tonight or early Tuesday morning, all government offices save for critical agencies and all Public School System campuses are closed down today to prepare for the coming storm.
Saipan and Tinian have been upgraded to Typhoon Condition 2. 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 expected Monday night.
Rota is under Typhoon Condition 3, while Alamagan and Pagan are under Tropical Storm Condition 3.
Acting governor Arnold I. Palacios asked President Donald J. Trump yesterday for an emergency declaration for the CNMI.
That would allow the federal government to tap federal response resources for the Commonwealth.
In a statement early yesterday evening, Palacios cited the CNMI’s remote location and the time and distance from the U.S. mainland to justify the early request.
Typhoon Bualoi is the second significant typhoon in two weeks to threaten the Marianas. During the early morning of Oct. 8, 2019, Super Typhoon Hagibis threatened the Marianas with maximum sustained winds at 150 mph and gusts up to 185 mph. The super typhoon passed just south of the unpopulated island of Anatahan.
In his request to the White House, Palacios said the CNMI is still in the midst of recovery from last year’s Super Typhoon Yutu, which devastated Saipan and Tinian.
Currently, Bualoi—a Thai term for a kind of dessert—is moving northwest at 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. It is expected to maintain a northwest track with a slight decrease in forward speed through Tuesday. The current forecast takes it 30 to 40 miles north of Saipan early Tuesday morning as a possible Category 2 or 3 typhoon, with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph.
“I have determined this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the Commonwealth government and supplemental federal assistance is necessary to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety, and to lessen the effects of this impending calamity,” Palacios said.
His request includes public assistance emergency protective measures and direct federal assistance, including Department of Defense airlift, mass care, and sheltering commodities.
As of 7pm last night, Tropical Storm Bualoi became Typhoon Bualoi, as classified by the National Weather Service in Guam. It is expected to continue to intensify in the next few days.
Tropical storm force winds extend out to 110 miles northwest of the center, and up to 75 miles southwest of the center. Typhoon force winds extend out to 15 miles from the center.
Based on NWS information compiled at the CNMI Emergency Operations Center-State Warning Point, a typhoon warning is now in effect for Saipan and Tinian, and a tropical storm watch is now in effect for the islands of Alamagan and Pagan. A typhoon watch remains in effect for Rota and a tropical storm watch remains in effect for Guam.
NWS meteorologist Marcus Landon Aydlett said everyone in the Marianas should keep a close watch on Bualoi.
“…even for us on Guam and Rota, as we are not out of the woods yet—not until it moves west of the Marianas. This storm will make a pass through the island chain late Monday night/early Tuesday morning with a path similar to [Super Typhoon] Hagibis two weeks ago—but not at the intensity Hagibis was at its time of passage,” he said.
The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port for Guam has established Port Heavy Weather Condition YANKEE for the Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and the CNMI as of 6pm. Gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 24 hours.
PSS and NMC cancel classes
PSS and the Northern Marianas College announced yesterday that classes will be cancelled. Mount Carmel School and Grace Christian Academy have also cancelled classes today; meanwhile, Saipan Community School and Saipan International School will have half-day sessions today.
Saipan and Tinian shelters activated; Rota shelters on standby
As of 4pm yesterday, the following shelters were activated: Koblerville Elementary School, Kagman High School, Marianas High School, Tinian Elementary School, and the Aging Center (for medical needs only). Residents in tents, if able, are advised to go to the closest shelter for care, support, and relief.
The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority was activated to provide transportation to the shelters throughout the day. Residents can call (670) 664-2690 for transportation to designated shelters.
As of 11am yesterday, the Saipan Mayor’s Office, in collaboration with the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Corrections, began to help residents break down their temporary tents. This will continue until Condition I is declared.
Residents who need help breaking down their tents can call (670) 237-8000 or (670) 285-6361.
CHCC clinic open half-day
All outpatient services of the Commonwealth Health Care Corp., including pharmacy and dialysis, will be open half-day (dialysis will serve patients for first and second shift). In addition, services from the Bureau of Environmental Health, Community Guidance Center, Women, Infants, and Children Program, and the Division of Public Health Services are open half day today.
Depending on weather conditions, outpatient services may remain open in the afternoon; an update will be released this morning to confirm.
CHCC plans to close all services tomorrow. CHCC announced that office hours on Wednesday are still under determination and will provide an update at 4pm Tuesday. Patients who are affected by these closures are being contacted to reschedule their appointments.
CUC Customer Center to Open half-day today
The Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s Saipan and Tinian Customer Centers will be open today from 7:30am to 12pm to allow customers to buy prepaid load, payments, and other transactions. Offices will close soon after. CUC Rota will remain open and will observe regular business hours.
For more information, contact the CUC Customer Call Center at (670) 664-4282 or monitor CUC’s Facebook page for the latest updates.
Bank of Guam closed today
Bank of Guam’s branches on Saipan and Tinian will be closed today.