Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 21 Nov 2019 12am







    Wednesday, November 20, 2019-4:37:26P.M.






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Bualoi now a typhoon; NMI requests President Trump declare state of emergency

(CNMI EOC State Warning Point/Office of the Governor/CHCC/U.S. Coast Guard/CUC) — Based on information received from the National Weather Service on Guam, Bualoi is now a typhoon. Maximum sustained winds have increased to typhoon force at 75 mph. Intensification is expected to continue in the next few days, and when Bualoi passes Saipan it is forecast to be a category 3 typhoon with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph. On Saipan and Tinian, damaging winds of 39 mph or more are expected by Monday evening, and typhoon force winds of 74 mph or more are expected Monday night.

Marcus Landon Aydlett, a meteorologist of the National Weather Service, said: “A small southward shift would bring stronger winds to Saipan and Tinian; a northward shift would pull the strongest winds farther from Saipan and Tinian…. Everyone in the Marianas should keep a close watch on this one — even for us on Guam and Rota, as we are not out of the woods yet — not until it moves west of the Marianas. This storm will make a pass through the island chain late Monday night/early Tuesday morning with a path similar to [Super Typhoon] Hagibis two weeks ago — but not at the intensity Hagibis was at its time of passage.”

As of 10 p.m. Sunday, Bualoi was about 320 miles east-southeast of Saipan and moving northwest at 9 mph.

Bualoi is expected to continue toward the northwest with little change in forward speed through Tuesday. This forecast track takes Bualoi 30 to 40 miles north of Saipan early Tuesday morning

Flash flood watch

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Tinian and Saipan through Tuesday morning.

Acting Gov. Arnold I. Palacios is advising residents of Saipan and Tinian to monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued. Flash flooding can become life-threatening very quickly.

On Sunday, acting Governor Palacios, along with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump, requesting an emergency declaration for the CNMI.

Bualoi is the second significant typhoon in two weeks to threaten the Marianas. During the early morning of Oct. 8, 2019, Super Typhoon Hagibis threatened the Marianas with maximum sustained winds at 150 mph and gusts up to 185 mph. The super typhoon passed just south of the unpopulated island of Anatahan.

In his request to President Trump, acting Governor Palacios emphasized that the CNMI is still in the midst of recovery from last year’s impact of Super Typhoon Yutu, which devastated Saipan and Tinian.

“The intensity and erratic movement of the storm threatens such destruction to public and private infrastructure that are partially being restored from the catastrophic damage caused by Super Typhoon Yutu less than a year ago. My request for the emergency declaration is to mobilize critical response resources into the Commonwealth given our location and the time and distance from the mainland,” acting Governor Palacios stated in his letter to the president.

In a memorandum, the acting governor said all government offices will be closed on Monday, Oct. 21, until further notice.

For their part, the Public School System and Northern Marianas College have announced that they are canceling classes and closing offices on Monday.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, the Office of the Governor in coordination with PSS and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs activated the following as shelters:

  • • Koblerville Elementary School
  • • Kagman High School
  • • Marianas High School
  • • Tinian Elementary School
  • • Aging Center (for medical needs only)

As of 9 p.m. Sunday, Dandan Head Start was also activated as a shelter.

Residents in tents, if able, are advised to go to the closest shelter to them for care, support, and relief during the rainy conditions.

The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority has been activated to provide transportation to the shelters throughout the day. Residents can call 664-2690 for transportation to designated shelters.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang and his personnel, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and the Department of Corrections began to help residents dismantle their temporary tents if needed to prepare for the storm.

Residents who need assistance in dismantling their tents can call 237-8000 or 285-6361. Operators are on standby ready to assist.

For more information about the typhoon, call the CNMI EOC State Warning Point at 237-8000 or 664-8000. Those in the Northern Islands can contact the CNMI EOC State Warning Point at high frequency single side band radio on frequency 5.205.0.

CHCC advisory

In a separate statement, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. preparation said on Monday, Oct. 21, all outpatient services, including pharmacy and dialysis, are planned to be open for a half day (dialysis will serve patients for first and second shift). Depending on weather conditions, outpatient services may remain open in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, all CHCC services are planned to be closed.

An update will be released on Tuesday by 4 p.m. regarding service hours for Wednesday.

The Bureau of Environmental Health, the Community Guidance Center, the Women, Infants, and Children Program and the Division of Public Health Services will be open half-day on Monday.

Patients who are affected by these closures are being contacted to reschedule their appointments. This information may change depending on weather conditions.

For the latest updates, check out the CHCC Facebook page ( and for new press releases and health advisories uploaded to the website at releases.

Coast Guard advisory

The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port or COTP for Guam established Port Heavy Weather Condition YANKEE for the ports of Saipan, Tinian, Rota, CNMI as of 6 p.m. Sunday.

Port Heavy Weather Condition or PHWC YANKEE is set when gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 24 hours, the Coast Guard said.

In accordance with Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 160.111(c), the COTP hereby orders the following:

  • • “Dead ships or vessels/barges/dry-docks unable to put to sea must have written authorization from the COTP prior to setting PHWC YANKEE. Upon the setting of PHWC YANKEE (winds greater than 35 knots within 24 hours), all commercial vessels greater than or equal to 200 gross tons must depart and all inbound vessels are prohibited from entering.

All pleasure craft shall seek sheltered waters. The Captain of the Port is directing action by the maritime and port community. All ocean-going vessels and barges 200 gross tons and above, without an approved application to remain in port, shall make preparations to depart port before the setting of port condition ZULU.

When the Captain of the Port sets port condition ZULU, should it become necessary, meaning sustained gale force winds (winds greater than 35 knots) are anticipated within 12 hours, all activity will be suspended, and the ports will close until the storm has passed and damage assessment surveys are completed. No terminal, facility, vessel, or marina operations are permitted.

Any vessel or facility operator desiring a Captain of the Port waiver from the above restrictions must submit a written request. If you have questions or concerns, please call the Sector Guam Prevention and Compliance Department at 671-355-4835 or the Coast Guard command center at 671-355-4824.

CUC advisory

For its part, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is advising all residents using generators to ensure that their main breaker on their home panel is turned off to prevent any electrical back feed. This poses a danger to line crew and severe injury and death can result from these incorrectly installed generators.

  • • Do not use generators without the proper electrical switches. All generators should be connected through a double throw switch to protect your property and the line crews working on the system.
  • • Incorrectly connected generators can cause a back-feed through your secondary wiring back to the overhead transformer whereby re-energizing the overhead system to 7 ,970 volts.