Guam- The island went into Condition of Readiness one this morning. Tropical storm Halong passed through the Rota channel just north of Guam at around noon today.
The island did receive some damaging tropical storm strength winds but by this evening the worst was already over. Nevertheless officials are cautioning residents to remain off the roads unless absolutely necessary throughout the night tonight as a lot of rain and some damaging winds are still expected to last until midnight.
“As of 8 am this morning the Governor along with Rear Admiral Payne has put the island in condition of readiness one,” said Guam Homeland Security Acting PIO Dee Cruz. Condition of Readiness one or COR1 means that the island can expect tropical storm strength winds within the next twelve hours and at about 11a.m. The center of tropical storm Halong was located just South of Rota in the Rota channel that separates the Northern tip of Guam from the island of Rota. Also as of 11am this morning the National Weather Service had already clocked some tropical storm strength winds in Tiyan. NWS Meteorologist Derrick Williams said, “We measured 36 knots gusts 46 knots and a tropical storm is defined as sustained winds of 34 knots or greater so we verify tropical storm force winds,” said Williams.
That translates to 40 mph winds with gusts up to 52 mph. A tropical storm is classified as having 39 to 54 mph winds. However, the 52 mph gusts were only at Tiyan in the center of the island while the Northern half was getting stronger winds. “Andersen wind sensor is not…it’s broken I suppose but I would suppose they’re getting a little bit stronger because they’re a little bit closer to the center,” said Williams. “So you aren’t picking up from Andersen’s wind sensor?” asked PNC. “We are it’s off and on so it’s not very reliable data. After the storm passes we’ll have time to re-assess all the sensors that are on the island,” said Williams.
NWS meteorologists weren’t expecting any typhoon strength winds on the island as Halong remained a tropical storm as it passed through the Rota channel. Williams said the eye was about 30 miles in diameter which is about the width of the Rota channel which meant that the northern half of Guam was definitely receiving some tropical storm strength winds. Also the buoy at Ritidian point measured 14 foot swells.
There was a lot of rain causing a lot of flooded roads throughout the low lying areas of Guam. In Tumon some cars were able to brave the floods successfully while others along some flooded stretches of Marine drive in Dededo stalled out and required towing. There were some downed trees here and there. One blocking Rt. 4 in Hagatna next to the Bank of Guam and another blocking part of the road in lower Tumon. A crew from the Hyatt hotel could be seen removing the tree. A light fixture in Tumon on San Vitores hill blocked one lane temporarily.
Although the destructive winds would be gone by this evening officials warned residents to stay indoors and off the roads. “What we want to inform the public is that even though the closest point of approach has passed we still have some damaging and destructive winds at the tail end of this storm so we still encourage folks to stay home until the Governor and Rear Admiral Payne have given the all clear for the island,” said Cruz.
National Weather Service officials say that although most of the destructive winds are gone there are still some damaging winds that could remain on Guam until around midnight.