CNMI hunkers down for Maria's worst

3:26 pm on 5 July 2018

The Northern Marianas government is hunkering down for the worst with the possibility that Tropical Storm Maria could intensify into a typhoon overnight.

Dark and ominous storm clouds. (File)

Photo: 123rf

With maximum sustained winds at 112 kilometres an hour, Tropical Storm Maria is forecast to intensify over the next few days.

The National Weather Service has cautioned the public to avoid being outdoors if possible.

CNMI Governor Ralph Torres has ordered the executive and legislative branches closed.

A flash flood watch is in effect for Rota, Tinian, and Saipan through Friday morning.

Rainfall of 4 to 6 inches is possible with locally higher amounts, especially for Rota.

Evacuation centres were have been opened on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

STAR Marianas Air has cancelled all its flights while at least 29 flights were cancelled in and out of neighbouring Guam.

Meanwhile, some classes were canceled and government offices were closed until 1pm (local time) in Guam after Tropical Storm Maria passed over the northern part of the island this morning.