Military bases on Guam entered Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness-1 and the National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for the Marianas Islands on Saturday in advance of Tropical Storm Saomai as it rumbled rapidly northwest toward Guam.
The eighth storm of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season was forecast to track just north of Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base on Sunday, weather officials said Saturday.
Forecasts called for winds of 50 mph and higher to rake the island late Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening, said National Weather Service meteorologist Genny Miller, though she said “a lot can change in 24 hours, especially at this stage of development.”
Naval Forces Marianas officials ordered all personnel to remain indoors until the all-clear is sounded. They projected the storm’s closest point of approach to be noon Sunday with sustained winds of between 46 and 52 mph and gusts up to 58 mph.
Forecasts also called for rainfall in excess of 6 inches, with some localized flooding, Miller said.
The storm spawned overnight Friday just to the west of Chu’uk Island and became a tropical storm in less than 24 hours.
The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for the Marianas Islands at 5 p.m. Saturday Guam time, Miller said. While TCCOR-1 was declared for military bases, the rest of the island remained in TCCOR-2, which was issued by Guam’s civil defense office at 8 p.m., the Pacific Daily News reported.
Navy officials asked for its customers to conserve water, with southern residents strongly encouraged to take the necessary steps in case the Navy had to decrease supplies to Guam Waterworks. The Orote Point commissary and all Navy Exchange facilities were ordered closed on Sunday.
At 1 a.m. Sunday, Guam time, Saomai was 155 miles southeast of the island, moving northwest at 13 mph with sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts of up to 52 mph at its center.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center projected Saomai would pass 33 miles north of Andersen and 62 miles north of Naval Base Guam at 9 a.m. Sunday, packing sustained winds of 52 mph and gusts of up to 63 mph.
It’s forecast to reach typhoon strength sometime Tuesday evening and begin curving west-northwest away from the Marianas in the general direction of Okinawa but it’s too early to tell whether Saomai will threaten the island, 18th Weather Flight officials at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, said.
Saomai is the Vietnamese word for the planet Venus.