10 Jul 2002

Guam and Northern Marianas prepare for Typhoon Halong

4:42 pm on 10 July 2002

Typhoon Halong is intensifying and expected to lash southern Guam later today and then Rota, Tinian and Saipan in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas.

All flights have been cancelled and villagers are being told to seek shelter, especially those in low lying areas.

Halong is not expected to directly hit Guam or CNMI at this point but will come close and damage is expected.

It's the second typhoon in five days after Chata'an lashed Guam and the island of Chuuk in Micronesia, causing widespread damage.

40 people lost their lives and 100 others were injured on Chuuk when villages were destroyed by torrential rain and landslides.

Public warnings are being broadcast by Guam's national weather office.

"Typhoon condition of readiness one remains in effect for Guam. Contact your village mayors for more information for shelter openings. Residents should rush to complete preparedness actions for the onset of damaging winds. Heavy rain, 3 to 6 inches, is possible through Thursday, localised flooding in low lying areas is possible"

Lead weather forecaster, Dan Mundell, says Typhoon Halong is stronger than normal.

It may intensify significantly as it passes Guam later today. The current forecast has it intensifying from its current intensity of about 85 miles an hour to over 120 miles per hour. That's stronger than normal. Your typical typhoon has an intensity of around 100 miles an hour. Joint Typhoon Warning centre is expecting this one would be a little bit stronger than that, approaching 120 miles per hour.