Guam cleaning up after Typhoon Chaba blows by
August 25, 2004
The Navy and Air Force on Guam spent Monday mopping up and assessing damage after Typhoon Chaba’s eye passed about 85 miles northeast of the island Sunday night.
Damage was minimal on Commander Naval Forces Marianas, officials reported, but the storm forced the base to shut off its water treatment plant, order water restrictions and urge all personnel and families to conserve water.
Water on base was to be turned off from 9 p.m. Monday until 10 a.m. Tuesday, Naval Base Guam announced Monday.
“Right now, we are not producing any water,” Senior Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Annis, a base spokesman, said Monday afternoon.
Too much sediment in the Navy water supply, brought on by weeks of rainy weather and Typhoon Chaba, is making it difficult to filter and treat the water, he said.
Base residents and workers still have tap water from reserve tanks but even when water is turned on, “all areas will be experiencing reduced water pressure,” Navy officials stated in a news release Monday.
“We tried to fill up the tanks before the typhoon came along, but there’s a very limited amount of water in the system,” Annis said.
Public works engineers are laboring to reduce water turbidity in the treatment plant 24 hours a day, Annis said. But if the problem isn’t fixed soon or if people don’t conserve water, “we may have some water shortages,” he said.
He noted that Navy personnel and families on Guam typically drink bottled water.
Navy officials didn’t specify water conservation measures in the release but Annis said to use common sense.
“People need to not be washing their cars, for example,” he said.
He said other water treatment plants on the island are experiencing similar problems.
Chaba made its closest approach to Guam around 11 p.m. Sunday, according to the Pacific Daily News, packing peak winds of 61 mph, flooding roads and homes and forcing about 2,000 residents into typhoon shelters. Gov. Felix Camacho on Sunday declared a state of emergency for Guam and authorized up to $250,000 for emergency civil defense, public safety and health-care costs, the newspaper reported.
The storm damaged some buildings on Andersen Air Force Base, blew a few trees onto houses and littered the ground with palm fronds.
The beacon on the air traffic control tower was damaged but was working again Monday afternoon, said Maj. Kris Meyle, base spokeswoman. Airfield operations were expected to resume Monday evening.
Andersen moved its aircraft to other locations over the weekend; the six rotational B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., waited out the storm at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.
The roof of the Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 5 hangar was seriously damaged, Meyle said. Four trees that fell on houses were cleared by Monday afternoon; no injuries or major structural damages were reported.
Other damage included some downed phone boxes, power lines and signs. Also, the base’s wind measuring equipment broke during the storm.
Meyle said Monday that Andersen officials still were compiling the storm damage dollar amount.
Andersen lost power around 7:30 Sunday night, but electricity was restored for about 90 percent of the population as of late Monday afternoon.
Meyle said base preparation for the typhoon and the recovery afterward “could not have been smoother. We knew about this storm Friday, that there was a very good possibility that it could track close to Guam.”
Tuesday was to be a regular duty day for Andersen personnel and base facilities were to reopen.
At Marianas, all Naval Hospital personnel and essential personnel on other naval installations were to report to work as normal Tuesday morning; other military and civil service personnel were to start their duty day at 12:30 p.m.
The main base front gate detour is now open. On Monday, the main base gas station was the only facility open at the main base. The back gate was expected to be open at the normal time. Club Rumours and the Child Development Center were to open at their normal times.
The Navy Exchange was expected to open for normal business on Tuesday, the Commissary, on Wednesday.
Schools on Andersen were to be open Tuesday, while McCool Elementary and Middle schools and Guam High School were to remain closed. The Navy commissary was to reopen Wednesday.
Typhoon Chaba curtailed the USS Kitty Hawk’s visit. The aircraft carrier from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, arrived Aug. 19 and was to stay in Guam for several days, but it returned to sea early Saturday due to the storm’s approach, Navy officials said in a release.
Sailors on Guam who missed movement with ships were to report immediately to their ship representative in the Guam Outrigger Resort lobby or to call their Navy representatives at DSN 727-3017/7084/ 3208 for further instruction.