The Commonwealth Ports Authority announced yesterday that the airports on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota remain open as of this time.
So far, CPA has been advised of flight cancellations at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport by Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air, United Airlines, Sichuan Airlines. and T’Way. T’Way is also cancelling its Oct. 8, 2019, flight that is arriving at 12:35am and departs Saipan at 1:35am, but a substitute flight will operate later that afternoon (arriving at 4:25pm, departing at 5:25pm).
Star Marianas Air has also grounded all passenger flights in and out of the three airports (Saipan, Tinian, and Rota). Passengers are urged to contact the airlines directly for flight details.
All seaports were closed noontime yesterday and the Port of Saipan operations officially shut down at 5pm. (PR)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Application Support Office on Beach Road in Garapan was closed all day yesterday. Those with biometrics appointments should visit www.uscis.gov and make a new appointment for a later date.
For updates on USCIS office status, visit the USCIS office closings page of the USCIS website: www.uscis.gov.
Shell stations to close early
Citing safety concerns, IP&E said in a statement that it was planning on closing all of its Shell gas stations at 5pm yesterday.
The Shell San Roque station has been allocated to fuel all government vehicles. Residents are encouraged to visit other Shell stations in Dandan, Puerto Rico, Susupe, or Highway Express.
Customers should expect longer lines than usual during their visit, according to Bill Ada, Retail Operations and Marketing director, IP&E Holdings. (PR)
Hotels on Saipan limited yesterday their guests’ activities to indoor and closed facilities located near the beaches.
Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands chair Gloria Cavanagh told Saipan Tribune that she can only tell about the Pacific Islands Club Saipan’s typhoon readiness, but that she is quite sure that other hotels are also going through similar preparations.
Cavanagh, who is the PIC general manager, said some restaurants were closed because they are located near the beach.
Cavanagh said they released some information to guests so they would know what to expect about the typhoon’s approach.
At PIC, they limited their guests to indoor activities by closing beach activities, the waterpark, water slide, and the lazy river. The only open facility is the main swimming pool.
“We’re trying to limit guests’ activities to make sure they are safe,” Cavanagh said.
She said some staff were also sent home for their safety. “It’s not as big as [Super Typhoon] Yutu, but we want to make sure we’re prepared,” the HANMI chair said. (Ferdie de la Torre)
Federal, local courts closed; District Court may re-open this afternoon, Tuesday
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona closed the federal court yesterday and will reopen today, Tuesday, at 1pm, unless otherwise ordered.
The electronic filing system, however, will remain online.
CNMI Supreme Court acting Chief Justice John A. Manglona and Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja also ordered the closure of the local court yesterday and announced in the afternoon that the Commonwealth Judiciary will remain closed today, Tuesday. (Ferdie de la Torre)
Flash flood warning
The CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in coordination with the National Weather Service, issued a flash flood warning for the islands of Saipan and Tinian that was in effect until 6:15pm yesterday.
NWS reported that as of 1:45pm yesterday, Doppler radar and satellite imagery showed bands of heavy rain and thunderstorms ahead of Typhoon Hagibis’ approach to the CNMI. These bands are just east of the CNMI and are quickly approaching, with heavy rains, approximated to be about 2 to 4 inches, are expected to cause flash flooding by 3pm, it is expected to be until 6:15pm. It is recommended to stay off the roads and move to higher ground if necessary.
The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority was activated to provide transportation to the shelters throughout the day. Residents can call (670) 664-2690 for transportation to designated shelters.
As of 2pom yesterday, the open shelters include Kagman High School=; Tinian Elementary School; San Vicente Elementary School; and Aging Center (for medical needs only)
Banks close early
Bank of Hawaii closed its Gualo Rai branch at 1pm yesterday. All exposed ATMs will be secured once the branch closes. Its normal business hours on Mondays are 9am to 4pm. Bank of Hawaii said it will continue to assess the status of its Gualo Rai branch, and will update the public on branch closures and re-openings.
Call Center operations, based in Kapolei, Oahu, remain open to assist customers. Online and mobile banking services will continue to operate unless power interruptions are experienced. Bank of Hawaii will also place public updates on all of its social media platforms (Facebook: www.facebook.com/bankofhawaii, Instagram: www.instagram.com/bankofhawaii and Twitter: www.twitter.com/bankofhawaii), as well as its website: www.boh.com.
All First Hawaiian Bank branches on Saipan closed at noon yesterday. The branches will reopen once it has been deemed safe to do so. FHB customers may access their accounts 24/7 via FHB Online and FHB Mobile app or may call the FHB Customer Service Center at 1-888-844-4444.
FHB has two Saipan branches: at the Gualo Rai Commercial Center on Middle Road and at the Oleai Center on Beach Road in Chalan Laulau.
Bank of Guam’s CNMI branches were open from 9am to 12pm.
Kagman PTSA meeting potponed
Today’s Parents Teachers Students Association meeting for the Kagman Unified Schools has been postponed due to the impending storm.
USCG sets PHWC ZULU for CNMI
The U. S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Guam established Port Heavy Weather Condition ZULU for the ports of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota at 4am yesterday. PHWC ZULU is set when winds above 39 mph are predicted within 12 hours.
The declaration suspended operations for commercial vessels; vessels are secured at a safe facility/location; all transfers of cargo, oil, or hazardous materials are suspended; marinas are closed to inbound and outbound recreational traffic.; and all commercial vessels must remain in port, moorings are secure and checked/adjusted as necessary.
The COTP has closed the ports of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, prohibiting any vessel movement or port facility operations.