Ongoing trade wind surge prompts gale watch

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The heavy winds that have been blowing across the Marianas this weekend are forecast to continue and grow in strength.

The heavy winds that have been blowing across the Marianas this weekend are forecast to continue and grow in strength in the coming days and that has prompted the National Weather Service in Tiyan to issue a gale watch.

The gale watch will be in effect from Tuesday morning through Thanksgiving on Thursday night.

A gale watch is issued when the risk of gale force winds or frequent gusts of 39 to 54 miles per hour has significantly increased.

When those winds will begin is uncertain. The weather service says they issued the gale watch in order to provide plenty of lead time for mariners who may wish to consider altering their plans.

Wind Speeds

The winds are the result of a trade wind surge. The surge signals the start of the seasonal transition into the dry season which has not yet arrived.

Last Thursday, the weather service issued a Special Weather Statement advising that strong winds would be blowing over the Marianas in the coming days.

As of Sunday morning, winds were from the east at 17 to 29 miles per hour.

Occasional gusts of up to 40 mph are expected in the next several days and the weather service advises those winds “could get even stronger Tuesday through Thursday.”

Take precautions

The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense advise the community to prepare for the onset of gale-force winds by taking the following basic precautionary actions now:

• Clear loose debris around your yard and store any items that may become airborne
• Stay up to date with the latest information and advisory updates;
• If planning outdoor activities, have alternate plans in place;
• Avoid north and east-facing reefs and beaches throughout the week.
• Heed the advice of lifeguards, beach patrol flags, and signs.

Watches and Advisories in Effect

1. A Small Craft Advisory was declared Sunday morning and remains in effect through Friday at 6 p.m. ChST.

Wave heights around the island are currently in the range of 9 to 11 feet. They are expected to rise up to 10 and 12 feet Sunday night and possibly higher by Tuesday morning.

A small craft advisory means that wind speeds of 25 to 38 MPH are expected to produce wave conditions hazardous to small craft. Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid sailing or boating in these conditions.

Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid sailing in these conditions.

2. A Hazardous Seas Watch will be in effect from Tuesday morning through late Thursday night. A hazardous seas watch is issued when the risk of hazardous seas of 15 feet or more has significantly increased, but the specific timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide additional lead time for mariners who may wish to consider altering their plans.

3. A High Surf Advisory remains in effect for Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan until 6 p.m. Friday.

Along north facing reefs, hazardous surf of 8 to 10 feet could possibly increase to between 12 and 14 feet on Tuesday.

Along east facing reefs, hazardous surf of 10 to 12 feet could possibly build between 16 and 20 feet on Tuesday.

Do not venture out along north and east facing reefs and beaches. Large breaking waves can knock you down and cause serious injuries.

4. High Risk of Rip Currents is also in effect for Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan through the coming week.

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore. Strong and frequent rip currents are expected along north and east facing reefs and exposed beaches. If caught in a rip current, yell for help.

Remain calm and stay afloat while waiting for help. If swimming out of a rip current, swim parallel to shore and back toward the beach when possible.

Do not attempt to swim directly against a rip current. Rip currents are life-threatening.

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