Damage assessments for Typhoon Bualoi, which missed Saipan and Tinian by a hair early Tuesday, is expected to end today.
Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter, who is leading the damage assessment efforts on Saipan, told Saipan Tribune yesterday that data collections started yesterday and preliminary numbers and estimates on damage sustained through Typhoon Bualoi might be available as early as today.
“We’ll be compiling the collected information and meeting with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and [the American] Red Cross-[NMI Chapter] to go through anything that has been found. But, as far as the [extent of damage goes], it is still premature [to say]; our crews are still in the field,” Hunter said.
He noted that Division of Youth Services administrator Vivian Sablan is also participating in the assessment efforts.
“They went out beginning at 8:30am and are hitting every village and as many side roads and houses that they can to try and gauge if there was any damage at all and, if there is, what kind of damage,” Hunter said.
Department of Public Works Secretary James Ada told Saipan Tribune that his department dispatched teams to clear drainages around Saipan as early as two days before Typhoon Bualoi’s nearest approach to the CNMI.
“Drainage was cleared before the typhoon approached,” Ada said. “All outlets to the lagoon [were] cleared as well before the storm approached.”
The “…only major problems we [saw] were the road cuts that have yet to be restored by [the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.],” he said, adding that road cuts were a responsibility of CUC.
Acting governor Arnold I. Palacios said in a short phone conversation with Saipan Tribune that he expects very minimal damage from Typhoon Bualoi.
As of publication, Typhoon Bualoi was a Category 4 typhoon and was spotted about 505 miles north-northwest of Saipan, with maximum sustained winds of 140mph
The typhoon is forecasted to slowly weaken in the next few days and is expected to continue north at 17mph, based on the final bulletin released by the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency on Oct. 23, at 2:15pm.