Mangkhut expected to pass through Marianas tonight

No PSS classes today; No govt offices today

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Long lines of vehicles gas up at this Mobil gas station on Middle Road in preparation for Typhoon Mangkhut. (Jon Perez)

Typhoon Mangkhut, forecasted to be the biggest typhoon to hit the Marianas this year, is expected to pass through the islands tonight, either as a Category 4 or 5 typhoon. Either way, it will be a dangerous and life-threatening typhoon.

Dangerous winds of 55 mph or more from Typhoon Mangkhut may arrive this morning.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres upgraded the CNMI to Typhoon Condition 2 yesterday and is urging all residents of the Commonwealth to prepare and to keep informed of any updates.

According to the Public School System, all public school classes are suspended today for the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota to utilize classes as shelters as Typhoon Mungkhut sweeps through the Marianas.

The Northern Marianas College also suspended classes today.

The University of Guam will be closed today,. There will be no classes. All other campus activities will be cancelled or postponed. 

The Office of the Governor has announced that all government offices will be closed today.

“Because of the anticipated threat of Typhoon Mangkhut, I have upgraded the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota to Typhoon Condition 2. Effective immediately, all government offices will be shut down on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018,” Torres said in an announcement.

The CNMI Judiciary will also be closed today.

The typhoon’s closest point of approach is expected to arrive Monday evening; however, this does not necessarily mean conditions will become safe after the typhoon has made its passage across the Marianas.

Guam and Rota are urged to prepare for a direct hit by a Category 3 or Category 4 Typhoon. Saipan and Tinian should prepare for a Category 2 typhoon.

Rota can expect 8 to 12 inches of rain, and Saipan and Tinian, 2 to 4 inches.

No flood advisories are in effect at this time, but this may change as conditions worsen.

Significant wave height has been placed at 20 feet, and are expected to rapidly increase as Mangkhut strengthens.

As of press time, all incoming and outgoing flights at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport are as scheduled until further notice.

In Guam, United Airlines is expecting schedule changes for flights to and from A. B. Won Pat International Airport Guam today. United urges our customers to check the latest status of their flights at united.com or by calling United Reservations at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331).

The Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality- and Department of Public Works are coordinating efforts to open drainage systems to alleviate inundation on the island of Saipan where flood is likely to occur. Debris removal on public roadways have already begun.

A16-man team has been deployed to the island of Rota. HSEM is gearing to send a multi-agency support team to the island of Tinian, equipped with generators to assist in powering additional shelters, if needed.

Several Federal Emergency Management personnel have been pre-positioned on Saipan in support of recovery and relief efforts.

The National Weather Service in Guam announced yesterday that typhoon conditions—including destructive winds of 74 mph or more—are expected as early as today.

As of 2pm yesterday, Typhoon Mangkhut was located about 550 miles east of Saipan, about 560 miles east of Tinian, about 590 miles east of Rota, and about 630 miles east of Guam

Mangkhut was seen moving 275 degrees west at 23 mph with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. This motion is expected to continue through Tuesday, taking Mangkhut through the Marianas Monday night.

The center of Typhoon Mangkhut was located near latitude 15.1 degrees north and longitude 154.0 degrees east.

Typhoon force winds extend outward from the center up to 30 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward from the center up to 130 miles to the north and up to 75 miles to the south.

The CNMI Emergency Operations Center State Warning Point will be monitoring the movement of Typhoon Mangkhut and will be issuing bulletins as they become available.

Residents of the Marianas are urged to keep a close watch on updates to weather forecasts and stay informed on the latest statements and advisories, which will be available through local media outlets or call CNMI EOC State Warning Point at 237-8000 or 664-8000.

“Mangkhut” is a Thai term referring to a kind of fruit.

The last time a major typhoon hit the CNMI was in August 2015, during Typhoon Soudelor. The NWS identified Soudelor as a strong Category 3 typhoon according to the Saffir-Simpson scale 

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IN BRIEF
• Public school classes suspended today.
• NMC classes suspended today.
• University of Guam closed today.
• Most government offices closed today.
• CNMI Judiciary closed today.
• Flight are as scheduled until further notice.
• PSS opens emergency shelters: Tanapag Middle School, Koblerville Elementary School, Kagman High School, Marianas High School on Saipan; Tinian Elementary School and Tinian Junior/Senior High School on Tinian; Rita H. Inos Junior/Senior High School on Rota.; Office of Aging; Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
• U.S. District Court for the NMI closed today.
• All Guam and Rota branches of the Bank of Guam closed today.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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