Typhoon hits Mariana Islands

2014-10-06 09:28
(Nasa Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team, AFP)

(Nasa Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team, AFP)

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Hagatna - A typhoon carrying strong winds and heavy rains passed over the Mariana Islands on Monday, with the eye of the storm skirting the small island of Rota.

Power outages and minor flooding were reported in some areas, but there were no immediate reports injuries or major damage.

The storm began moving through Guam and the other islands stretched across a swath of the Pacific before dawn on Monday and left the region several hours later.

Tanya King, who was in Sinapalo, one of the population centres on Rota, said via Facebook messenger that she was without electricity and conditions remained very windy, sustained at about 0.075km/h after the eye wall passed by.

There also was minor flooding, she said. A friend of King's, who lives near the ocean, had broken windows, "but all is well", said King, aged 60.

It appeared the eye of Typhoon Vongfong had passed about 1.6km north of Rota, National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Ziobro said. The eye wall, which packs the strongest winds, probably passed over the island, he said.

Rota, which is about 16.5km long and 1.6km wide, has about 2 500 residents, according to the last census. Guam Governor Eddie Calvo asked for prayers for residents there.


The weather service cancelled a flash-flood watch for the islands around 08:30 on Monday, as the storm shifted farther west. Light to moderate rain was expected to continue for several hours, with occasional downpours, but flooding wasn't expected. But the agency warned that poor drainage could lead to some flooding.

Residents on Guam heeded warnings about high winds and flooding by taking shelter at designated public schools.

Department of homeland security spokesperson Jenna Gaminde said there were no reports from Guam of injuries from the storm.

As conditions improved in the early afternoon, Guam officials shut down the island's storm center and government agencies and many businesses began reopening, but public schools remained closed for the day.

The Guam International Airport resumed full operations with inbound and outbound flights.

In the Hagatna area, there was some flooding in low-lying areas, but by early afternoon on Monday the waters were receding and roads were passable.

Melissa Savares, the mayor of Dededo, Guam's most populated village with more than 45 000 residents, said by phone that some who sought shelter in the schools were checking on their homes to see if it was safe for them to return.

Ed Propst, a manager of the head start programme in the island of Saipan's public school system and a candidate for the islands' House of Representatives, said branches, leaves and debris were scattered across his yard on Saipan early on Monday morning. He told The Associated Press via Facebook messenger that he experienced several storms growing up in Saipan, but "I don't think we have had one this strong in over a decade. Or at least it feels like it".

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