The weather did not cooperate Wednesday morning as heavy rains and winds greeted Saipan and the rest of the CNMI, forcing the 2018 Liberation Day committee to cancel the scheduled 4th of July parade.
Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang said they made the decision after an early morning meeting with members of the Liberation Day committee–headed by Joe Ayuyu Jr. and parade chair Brad Ruszala–and as per the advice of National Weather Service-Forecast Office Guam warning coordination meteorologist Chip Guard, the Office of the Governor, and the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
“We decided to postpone the parade today and all the activities today until further notice. The primary concern here is the safety of our people, we don’t want to be out there celebrating with lightning and heavy rains and the [strong] winds that are forthcoming,” said Apatang in a last-minute press conference at the Mayor’s Office conference room in Oleai.
“We’re trying to make sure that we take things down. Everybody to go home and be safe, we can still have the parade again at a later date once we sit down with the committee and decide when are we going to do that.”
He apologized to the public, who have already put up tents and had reserved spots on the parade route that will start at Quarter Master Road and to the Garapan Fishing Base.
CNMI HS-EM special assistant Gerald Cabrera said they are going to release updates and weather bulletins every three hours to inform the public as they track the direction of the tropical storm, which carries damaging winds of 39mph or more. A tropical storm warning had been declared in Rota while a tropical storm watch is in effect on Saipan and Tinian.
CNMI HS-EM public information officer Nadine Deleon Guerrero advised the public to be prepared at all costs, gas up their cars, withdraw cash, and stock up on basic necessities.
They also asked the public to bring down the tents. As of this writing, Saipan Mayor’s Office staff and others had been putting up the tents for precautionary measures.