Yutu seen to exceed Soudelor


Super Typhoon Yutu is now officially bigger in magnitude than Super Typhoon Soudelor and is comparable to the strongest typhoon that hit the Marianas back in ’60’s.



Super Typhoon Yutu, which is currently barreling toward the Marianas, has grown immensely in magnitude, exceeding the magnitude of Super Typhoon Soudelor back in 2015 that left widespread wreckage in the Marianas.


According to a statement from the Office of the Governor, Super Typhoon Yutu is now between the size of Super Typhoon Soudelor and Super Typhoon Jean that devastated the Marianas back in 1968.


Yutu was forecasted to continue intensifying through at least Friday and was predicted to pass near Tinian as an extremely dangerous Category 5 typhoon.


According to multiple media outlets, Super Typhoon Jean was the strongest typhoon of its time and it left everything in ruins as it roared across the Marianas about 50 years ago.


Today, the Marianas faces the same fate. In the latest update from the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Super Typhoon Yutu has developed into a Category 5 typhoon in less than 24 hours.


The U.S. National Weather Service defines a Category 5 typhoon as a weather system that has sustained winds of up to 150 mph or more.


At 1:30pm yesterday, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services on Saipan activated a second team for typhoon operations.


According to the DFEMS social media page, there are now 72 firefighters on duty manning ambulances, trucks, rescue and quick response vehicles in anticipation of Typhoon Yutu’s approach to Saipan and the Marianas. Call 911 for all emergencies and 664-9004 for non-emergencies.


HSEM reported that, as of 5pm, Super Typhoon Yutu was forecasted to have maximum sustained winds of up to 180 mph.


Flood watch


Heavy rain for all of the Marianas is expected with Super Typhoon Yutu. This will create a risk of flash flooding.


A flash flood watch is now in effect until late Thursday night.


The National Weather Service in Tiyan has issued a flash flood watch for Guam, Rota, Saipan, and Tinian through late Thursday night.


Heavy rainfall associated with Super Typhoon Yutu could produce flash flooding across the Marianas.


A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.




As of 5pm yesterday, Yutu was located about 130 miles east of Rota, about 125 miles southeast of Tinian, about 125 miles southeast of Saipan, about 160 miles east of Guam, about 275 miles south-southeast of Alamagan, about 305 miles south-southeast of Pagan, and about 350 miles south-southeast of Agrihan.


Yutu was seen moving west-northwest at 12 mph and is expected to continue this motion through Friday.


The current track brings Yutu just south of Tinian early Thursday morning.


Typhoon force winds extend outward from the center up to 65 miles and tropical storm force winds extend outward from the center up to 205 miles.


Due to the anticipated threat of Super Typhoon Yutu, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has maintained Typhoon Condition 1 for Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Alamagan, Pagan, and Agrihan also remain at Typhoon Condition 1.


HSEM will be monitoring the movement of Super Typhoon Yutu and will be issuing out bulletins as they become available.


Emergency declaration


U.S. President Donald J. Trump approved yesterday a request from Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres for an emergency declaration as Typhoon Yutu makes its way to the Marianas.


“I am pleased to announce that President Trump has expeditiously approved my request for an emergency declaration for the C[NMI]. We transmitted our request to the White House through FEMA Region 9 yesterday,” Torres said.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency is now authorized to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe on the three islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. Specifically, FEMA is authorized to provide emergency protective measures limited to direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance Program at 75 percent federal funding.


This assistance is for the municipalities of Rota, Saipan, Tinian, and the Northern Islands.


Additional designations may be made at a later date after further evaluation.


“Thank you to the President, the White House, FEMA, and our federal partners for acting on this expeditiously. And special thanks to everyone at the Homeland Security and Emergency Management and our local first responders for doing the necessary work to push this immediately,” Torres added.

Super Typhoon Yutu is forecast to pass near Tinian as a Category 5 system.



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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