TD causes widespread floods

As of 6pm last night, no one sought refuge at Dandan Middle School shelter

Vehicles pass through the flooded northbound lane of Beach Road in front of Star Water in Chalan Laulau yesterday afternoon. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

Although not expected to hit the CNMI, a tropical depression east of the Marianas gave the islands’ a glancing blow yesterday with torrential rain and gusty winds, causing floods in some roads and areas on Saipan.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 30 miles per hour, Tropical Depression 17W was moving northwest and was intensifying slightly as of last night, according to the U.S. National Weather Service in Guam.

Tropical Depression 17W is forecast to move farther away from Saipan toward the Northern Islands this morning, Monday.

Heavy rainfall over the weekend caused minor flooding on Beach Road, Chalan Pale Arnold, and other roads and some areas in Garapan, Chalan Laulau, San Antonio, Susupe, Chalan Kanoa, As Lito, and San Roque.

At 3:30pm yesterday, the northbound lane of Beach Road, from the entrance to Tasi Tours to the front of Star Water, was flooded. Some motorists proceeding north had to occupy the southbound lane to avoid the water that filled the area from the shoulder of the road up to the inner lane.

Water cascading from Chalan Pale Arnold Road covered an entire portion of Quartermaster Road.

At 3:45pm, a man was seen draining water using a pump from the side of a house that was already in knee-deep water along Palm Street corner Ginger Avenue in western Garapan.

As of 6pm yesterday, no one has sought shelter at the Dandan Middle School, one of the designated typhoon shelters on Saipan.

Dandan Middle School vice principal Reo Arriola said they opened the cafeteria as a shelter at 2pm and that they received some inquiries but no one actually went there.

Arriola said the cafeteria has no air-conditioning unit but has electric fans.

There was no information last night if there were people who also sought refuge at the other designated shelter, Kagman High School.

The CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in coordination with the U.S. National Weather Service in Guam, issued a flash flood warning in effect for Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, until 9:45pm last night.

NWS warned that rainfall of 4 to 8 inches is possible through this morning, Monday, and that dangerous flash flood is possible.

NWS advised people not to venture out along south- and west-facing reefs and beaches as large breaking waves can knock people down and cause serious injuries. NWS said rip currents will be life threatening.

A high surf advisory remains in effect through Tuesday night along west- and south-facing reefs.

NWS said hazardous surf of 10 to 12 feet will build to 11 to 14 feet, then fall back to 10 to 12 feet today,

As of 1pm yesterday, the center of Tropical Depression 17W was located 250 miles east-northeast of Saipan, 260 miles east-northeast of Tinian, 305 miles east-northeast of Rota, and 355 miles east-northeast of Guam.

Initial forecast was that Tropical Depression 178W is to weaken without reaching tropical storm intensity, and should dissipate by Wednesday.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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