Islands 'preparing smartly' for typhoon
November 23, 2003
Military personnel on Guam are keeping a wary eye on a typhoon expected to pass south of the island late Monday.
“We are watching and preparing smartly,” Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, spokeswoman Capt. Kim Melchor said late Friday. “It’s kind of a routine for us at Andersen.”
On the south end of the island, Navy officials were doing the same.
“It’s a little difficult to predict, but of course we’re making preparations,” U.S. Naval Forces Marianas Deputy Public Affairs Officer Chief Jonathan Annis said. “We’re keeping an eye on the storm.”
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center was predicting tropical storm 26W — which was expected to become a typhoon Sunday — would pass within 155 miles of Naval Forces Marianas and 180 miles of Andersen late Monday.
When the storm is at its closest to Guam, meteorologists predicted it would have sustained winds of between 120 mph and 140 mph. Gusts could reach as high as 170 mph.
That would mean the typhoon would be a category 3 or 4 storm, much weaker than Supertyphoon Pongsana, the last typhoon to hit the island.
Supertyphoon Pongsana struck Dec. 8 with sustained winds of about 150 mph, meteorological records show.
But base residents are not waiting for the storm to arrive to prepare, Melchor said.
“They are pretty much doing it on their own,” she said. “People are already out there shopping and getting gas for their vehicles.”
Military officials were expected to put the bases under Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 3 on Saturday.
Readiness 3 is issued when 57.5 mph or greater winds are expected within 48 hours.
At that time, military officials advise personnel to fuel vehicles, stock canned goods, and store drinking water and cooking utensils.
“We’ll be working with civil defense in coordination with the Navy and government of Guam,” Melchor said.
“If we go into COR-3, that’s when we’ll start informing the base community [of necessary precautions].”
As of Friday, military bases were still under “normal conditions,” Melchor said.