A uniformed typhoon naming system by the World Meteorological Organization had been in place since Jan. 1, 2000, with the CNMI contributing six names, one of which was already retired. The organization designated the Japan Meteorological Agency as the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center that distributes advisories, information, and warnings in the region.
The naming system was adopted in the Typhoon Committee meeting’s 31st session in Manila, the Philippines, for international navigation in the Western North Pacific and South Chine Sea regions. The JMA is responsible in naming typhoons based on the arrangement and names submitted by the 14 nations in the region.
The CNMI had contributed six on the list of 140 names submitted by Cambodia, China, the Federated States of Micronesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, North Korea, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Warning coordination meteorologist Charles “Chip” Guard of the Weather Forecast Office in Guam said the CNMI contributed Francisco (2013); Higos which means fig in Chamorro (2002, 2008, and 2015); Maria (2006); Matmo (2014); Roke (2011); and Vicente (2005 and 2012).
Vicente was retired in 2012 after leaving a combined damage cost of $332,480,000 affecting China, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The name Lan replaced Vicente on the international list.
Guard, who was on Saipan last week for a media workshop, said a typhoon name is retired if it costs a lot of damage, causes a high number of fatalities, and if the country that made the contribution requests the WMO, through JMA, for its retirement.
WMO members then vote on the request of retirement in the next annual meeting and if adopted, the country has to submit five new names. The members would then vote on which of the new names would be used to replace the one that was retired.
EOC information plans
Joey C. Dela Cruz, the Emergency Operations Center manager of the CNMI Office of Homeland Security Emergency Management, said they have other plans to disseminate information faster. “Here in the CNMI we don’t have a mass notification system other than the media [newspaper, radio, and television] pushing out information to the general public.”
CNMI radio stations put out weather bulletin based on the information they receive from the authorities while newspapers, the Saipan Tribune and the Marianas Variety, post updates online and on their social media accounts.
Dela Cruz said last week’s media workshop is part of their campaign on how to release information like typhoon warnings to prepare the public. “An informed public would be better prepared. This is the start of educational campaign and outreach program.”
He said the National Weather Service in Guam, through Guard, would provide more workshops and classes as part of their partnership.
“Currently we are developing a joint typhoon readiness and catastrophic planning to update the emergency operations plan as well,” Dela Cruz added.