12 Mar 2011

Northern Marianas tsunami warning about to be lifted

1:33 am on 12 March 2011

The acting governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Eloy Inos, is expected to lift a tsunami warning shortly ( 2am NZ time) after earlier extending it."

Initially the warning was to come off at 9p.m. local time but Mr Inos says the Emergency Management Office had confirmed tsunami wave activity throughout the region and advised people to stay on higher ground until the all clear order is issued.

His spokesperson Angel Demapan says there had been significant ongoing activity and precautionary measures needed to remain in effect.

Saipan's roads were empty and businesses in low-lying areas closed early following the initial tsunami warning, but gas stations and grocery shops were unusually busy.

Most residents drove up to Saipan's higher points like Navy Hill, Capital Hill, and San Vicente to wait for the all clear.

Hafadai Beach Hotel, the largest hotel in the CNMI, requested its guests to move to higher floors due to the tsunami warning.

The hotel is 90 percent full with 645 guests mostly from Japan.

The Hyatt Regency Saipan moved its guests to three of its highest floors, while thhe Aqua Resort Club relocated its guests to the hotel's second floor.