Hagibis now a super typhoon

Still no govt offices today
Posted on Oct 08 2019


Cars line up at STAR Water along Beach Road to get their drinking water gallons filled in preparation for Typhoon Hagibis. The typhoon is slated to pass through the CNMI late Monday night or early this morning.

Hagibis is now a super typhoon. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 150 mph and it could still intensify further.

In a weather advisory issued at 5:30pm yesterday, the CNMI Emergency Operations Center said that typhoon force winds extend outward from the center up to 50 miles. Tropical storm force winds extend outward from the center up to 175 miles.

Typhoon Condition I remains hoisted over Saipan, Tinian, Alamagan, and Pagan. This means that damaging winds are expected within 12 hours or are occurring.

Rota and Agrihan remain under Tropical Storm Condition II. This means that damaging winds of 39 mph or more are expected within 24 hours.

Hagibis was expected to pass through Saipan later last night or early this morning. What started out as a tropical storm turned into a full-blown typhoon at 4am yesterday.

The National Weather Service in Guam reported yesterday that, as of 5:30pm, Typhoon Hagibis was about 280 miles southeast of Agrihan, about 240 miles southeast of Pagan, about 215 miles southeast of Alamagan, about 165 miles east of Saipan, about 175 miles east of Tinian, about 220 miles east-northeast of Rota, and about 270 miles east-northeast of Guam, with the typhoon moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds at 150 mph and gusts of up to 185 mph.

The strongest winds are expected to pass the CNMI in the late evening hours of Monday to the early morning hours of Tuesday.

No govt offices today

In a memo yesterday afternoon, acting governor Arnold I. Palacios said he has upgraded the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Alamagan, and Pagan to Typhoon Condition I, and maintained Tropical Storm Condition II for Rota and Agrihan.

That means government offices in the Commonwealth will be closed today, Oct. 8, 2019, until further notice. Non-essential government employees are advised to tend to their families and homes.

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 Typhoon Hagibis, and issue bulletins as they become available. (PR)

Marine advisory

NWS reports that winds will shift to the west this evening and increase to tropical storm force. Winds will continue to increase to near-typhoon force late Monday night and will turn southwest early this morning, and will slowly decrease through this afternoon and night. Seas will continue to increase through the night and combined seas are expected to exceed 20 feet.

The rush to get prepared

With many businesses closing early yesterday and today, people have been rushing to get their typhoon preparations completed yesterday. Lines were long at water stations such as STAR Water and Saipan Ice and Water, as well as gas stations throughout the island. Stores’ parking lots were full.

Unusual landing

A helicopter landed yesterday on the parking lot of XO Market on Middle Road, sparking memes on social media about panic buying. Saipan Tribune learned through witnesses that it seemed like the pilot wanted to land the chopper on the building. Saipan Tribune later learned that helicopter is owned by the supermarket.

The Department of Public Safety reports that they are investigating this landing in communication with the Commonwealth Ports Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration to see if this was a documented and approved flight path and will release more details later.

Shelters remain active, but are almost at full capacity

As of 2pm yesterday, typhoon shelters were still taking in residents. The Public School System reports the following status on their shelters:
• Marianas High School: 78.75% capacity
• San Vicente Elementary School: 76% capacity
• Koblerville Elementary School: 98.18%
• Chalan Kanoa Head Start: 54%
• Kagman High School: 78.75%
• Tinian Elementary School: 22.5%
• The Aging Center is available for those who are in need of medical assistance.

CHCC prepared for typhoon

The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. implemented yesterday 12-hour shifts for its doctors and nurses.
Warren Villagomez, CHCC Hospital & Public Health Preparedness Program director, said that CHCC’s water and diesel supply for generators are enough for about two weeks, while food supplies are enough to last about three weeks and medical supplies for about 30 days.

CHCC also did sanitary inspections at each of the emergency shelters yesterday to see if they were suitable.

CHCC said in a separate statement that it will provide shelter to pregnant mothers who are at least 32 weeks pregnant, and women expecting preterm labor. The low air pressure from typhoons sometimes induces labor among pregnant women.

Expectant mothers are asked to check in at the Labor and Delivery ward of the CHCC (residents of Tinian and Rota report to the Tinian and Rota health centers) where they will be assessed for either admission or the option to shelter on-site in a designated area.

Earthquake at Farallon de Pajaros

At 7:21am yesterday, the CNMI EOC reported a 4.7-magnitude earthquake 7 miles north-northeast of Farallon de Pajaros. Currently, there are no tsunami warnings or advisories issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Stay informed

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.

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 marc_venus@saipantribune.com.

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