Governor Palacios Upgrades Rota Declaration to Typhoon Condition I; Declares Tropical Storm Condition I for Saipan and Tinian

As of 2:00 p.m. today, Governor Arnold I. Palacios, in consultation with the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and the National Weather Service (NWS Guam) Weather Forecast Office (WFO), has upgraded the declaration for Rota to Typhoon Condition I and declared Tropical Storm Condition I for the islands of Saipan, and Tinian

At the time of this release, Typhoon Mawar is currently intensifying and continuing to track toward the southern Marianas, and is anticipated to strengthen and strong winds and rainfall to the Marianas in the next 12 hours. Current sustained winds are at 130 MPH.

The storm’s tracking and its movement toward Rota and Guam as well as other preparatory activities for the CNMI were the focus of today’s heavy weather Multi Agency Coordination (MAC) briefing. The CNMI MAC Team, composed of government agencies and other organizations including the American Red Cross, met earlier at 10:00 a.m. for a heavy weather briefing provided by the NWS in Guam.

In preparation for typhoon strength winds and heavy rain, Governor Palacios, Lt. Governor David M. Apatang,  and HSEM remind CNMI residents to take precautionary measures that include:

  • Stay up to date with the latest information from the National Weather Service and the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and other official sources
  • Gas vehicles and obtain fuel for your generators.
  • Secure loose debris and belongings around your household or yard.
  • Those living in flood-prone areas should take action; clear drainage areas and unblock storm drains to minimize flooding.
  • Secure important documents such as birth certificates, tax papers, and insurance documents, and keep copies in a weather-proof bag.
  • Prepare to board up windows or close shutters.
  • Have a prepared emergency preparedness kit with first-aid kits, batteries, flashlights, toiletries, and a portable stove in your household.
  • Stock up on food and water, as appropriate, for your household.
  • Refrain from being in the ocean as rough waters present dangerous conditions for swimming, fishing, boating, etc. 

Additional updates include:

GOVERNMENT OFFICES CLOSED

Effective May 23, 2023 at 12:30 p.m., all government offices in Saipan and Tinian will be closed until an “All Clear” declaration is announced.  Typhoon Condition II was announced for Rota at 2pm yesterday, May 22, 2023 and government offices there will remain closed. 

SHELTERS ACTIVATED

Shelters have been activated yesterday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., May 22, 2023. Residents who need shelter assistance are asked to use the shelters closest to their homes. Residents are expected to bring their own bedding, food, and drinks in the shelter. No pets are permitted in the shelter unless the pet is a certified service animal. An ID should be presented upon entry. 

  1. Marianas High School (Cafeteria) 
  2. Koblerville Elementary School (Cafeteria) 
  3. Kagman High School (Cafeteria) 
  4. Tinian: Tinian Elementary School (Cafeteria) 
  5. Rota: Sinapalo Office on Aging

For Saipan, the Office on Aging is open to accommodate persons with disabilities and those with medical needs. Services under these categories include individuals who are wheelchair-bound, who need oxygen, and for those with ailments that do not need to be admitted at the hospital.

For Tinian, the Tinian Aging Center is open only for persons with disabilities or the elderly. For individuals requiring medical attention, the Tinian Health Center is open. 

For Rota, the Office on Aging in Sinapalo is the designated shelter for persons with disabilities and the elderly. For individuals requiring medical attention, the Rota Health Center is open.

TRANSPORTATION TO SHELTERS

Transport services to typhoon shelters for the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota can be accessed by contacting the following telephone numbers: 

Saipan: 

  1. EOC State Warning Point: (670) 237-8000 (Primary Number)
  2. Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority (COTA): One-Call/One-Click Transportation Information Resource Center: (670) 236-2682

Tinian:

  1. Public School System (PSS) Tinian Elementary School Tinian: (670) 783-8962 or (670) 433-9250 (Primary)
  2. Tinian Municipality Operations Center: (670) 433-1800 or (670) 433-1803 (Secondary) 

Rota:

  1. Rota Mayor’s Office: (670) 532-9451/2 (Primary Number)
  2. Rota Mayor’s Office Deputy Incident Commander: (670) 286-6618 (Secondary Number)

PSS, NMC, NMTech, PRIVATE SCHOOLS

The CNMI Public School System (PSS) has announced that its classes, including Head Start/Early Head Start and Early Intervention Programs, have been canceled until Thursday, May 25, 2023, until further notice. PSS has also made adjustments to its promotion and graduation. 

The continuation or cancellation of classes for other educational institutions will be announced by the respective institutions. 

COMMONWEALTH HEALTHCARE CORPORATION (CHCC)
Rota Health Center: Because of the declaration of Typhoon Condition I for Rota, Rota Health Center (RHC) will remain CLOSED. Patients will be contacted to reschedule appointments that are affected by these closures. The RHC Emergency Room on Rota remains OPEN despite weather conditions.

The CHCC will provide shelter for pregnant women who are at least 36 weeks pregnant or at risk for preterm labor during the typhoon. Please contact (670) 234-8950 for more information. Residents of Tinian and Rota can report to the Tinian and Rota Health Centers respectively.  

CHCC clinics and outpatient services on Saipan and Tinian are closed (based on Tropical Storm Condition 1 declaration) until further notice: 

  • Children’s Clinic
  • Dental Clinic
  • Dialysis Center (closing at 5:00 p.m.)
  • Family Care Clinic
  • HIV/STD and TB Program
  • Immunization Clinic
  • Koblerville COVID-19 Community Center
  • Mobile Clinic
  • Oncology Center
  • Tinian Health Center
  • WIC Clinic
  • Women’s Clinic

Community Guidance Center:

  • 988 Program 
  • Healthy Transitions Program 
  • Suicide Prevention Program  
  • System of Care  
  • Transitional Living Center  
  • Treatment and Recovery Clinic 
  • Wellness Clinic  

The CHCC Outpatient Pharmacy in Saipan remains open at regular hours from 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., please call (670) 236-8798 for updates. Any closure will be announced at a later time.

The CHCC recommends that all residents make sure they have enough of their prescription medications to last at least one week. This is especially important for people with diabetes, hypertension, or uncontrolled asthma. Store your medications in a waterproof container and take them with you to wherever you are sheltering from the storm.

In case of an EMERGENCY, please call 911. For any behavioral health crisis, please call 988. For the Addiction Services Unit, please call 670-788-0114 and for Transitional Living Center please call 670-287-4060. 

PRICE FREEZE ORDER IN EFFECT

Following the declaration of a significant emergency and state of major disaster, Governor Arnold I. Palacios signed an Executive Order on May 23, 2023 declaring a price freeze for the CNMI.

The price of the following items are frozen: 

  1. Gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, natural gas, and all other chemical fuels, whether in gaseous liquid or solid form;
  2. All foods and foodstuffs, including water, bottled water, beverages, and ice;
  3. All clothing;
  4. Flashlights, lamps, lanterns, candles, light bulbs, and other means of illumination;
  5. Generators, cables, wires, electrical batteries of every sort, and similar equipment for the generation and/or transmission of electrical power;
  6. All appliances used in the storage and/or preparation of food, including, but not limited to stoves barbecue grills, ovens, refrigerators, and coolers;
  7. Tools typically used for construction, ground clearing, or home repairs, whether electricity powered, chemically powered, or manual, including but not limited to, saws, machetes, hammers, drills, shovels, rakes, and brooms.
  8. All bedding items, including pillows, futons, and blankets.

This price freeze shall last until rescinded, or until the declarations of emergency or disaster are terminated, whichever occurs first.

ROAD CLOSURE: HIBISCUS ROAD (Between IPI and Joeten Hafa Adai Store)

DPW will temporarily close Hibiscus Road between IPI Casino and Joeten Hafa Adai (Garapan) for safety reasons due to Typhoon Mawar. The IPI Tower Crane situated along Hibiscus Road is posing an imminent threat to public safety, exposing it to high wind velocity. The closure will be implemented at 2:00 pm today, May 23, 2023, and will remain in place until further notice.

What to expect:

  • There will be a full closure of Hibiscus Road until “all clear” is declared. The property access will be maintained at all times for Joeten Delivery Truck and Emergency Service vehicles only.
  • Pedestrians are advised to move away from the proximity of the tower crane.
  • Signage will be put in place for proper public information.

LOWER BASE TRANSFER STATION AND MARPI LANDFILL

The Lower Base Transfer Station and the Marpi Landfill will be closed at 12:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Operations will resume when the “all clear” declaration is announced. For any questions regarding the transfer station and landfill, please call (670) 322-2760/45.

AIRPORTS AND SEAPORTS

The Commonwealth Ports Authority has announced that the airports will remain open for the duration of the storm for flight diversion. Pilots will land at their discretion. The following flights have been canceled as of 12:00 p.m.:

International:

  • T’Way Air (May 24, 2023)
  • Jeju Air (May 23-24, 2023, however, May 25, 2023, is TBD)

Domestic:

  • Star Marianas Air (SMA)
    • Rota – Guam (May 23-25, 2023)
    • Tinian (all flights are canceled as of May 23, 2023)
  • United Airlines
    • Saipan – Guam (May 24-25, 2023)

The seaports are now closed as set by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Guam on May 22, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. Vessel traffic is prohibited without permission from the COTP. 

For any questions or inquiries, please contact (670) 237-6571 or (670) 285-2404.

CNMI SUPREME COURT

As of May 22, 2023, at 1:00 p.m., the court orders that the following Judiciary facilities are closed to the public on May 23, 2023, and May 24, 2023:

  • Guma’ Hustisia (Saipan)
  • Kotten Tinian (Tinian)
  • Centron Hustisia (Rota)
  • Commonwealth Recorder’s Office (Saipan)

BUREAU OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND COASTAL QUALITY (BECQ)

Access to clean water is important. The BECQ Safe Drinking Water Program is informing residents that water may be disinfected by adding a small amount of household bleach (non-scented), such as Clorox, using the following chart:

Container Size:Amount of Bleach
Clear WaterCloudy Water
One (1) Gallon3 Drops6 Drops
Five (5) Gallon15 Drops30 Drops
Fifty-Five (55) Gallon1 ½  Teaspoons1 Tablespoon
One Hundred (100) Gallon3 Teaspoons2 Tablespoons
Five Hundred (500) Gallon5 Teaspoons½ Cup
One Thousand (1000) Gallon½ Cup1 Cup
Note: Allow the water to stand in a covered container, away from sunlight if possible, for at least 30 minutes. Water may also be disinfected by boiling vigorously for one to five minutes. 

MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS

Given the anxiety and stress that the storm (and preparing for the storm) may bring, everyone is also asked to be mindful of the stress, anxiety, and other emotional/mental impacts that may affect our family, friends, and coworkers. Make time to: 

  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get exercise
  • Get abundant rest
  • Value yourself and those around you. Set aside time for a regular routine of deep breathing or other stress reduction methods to alleviate your feelings of anxiety
  • Check-in on your family and friends periodically and offer support and assistance
  • Quiet your mind
  • Set realistic goals and actions for preparation activities before, during, and after the storm
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Obtain professional help when you need it

STAY INFORMED

The Office of the Governor advises the community to keep a close watch on official updates relating to weather forecasts and stay informed on the latest statements and advisories which will be available through official channels (listed below) and media partners.

As mentioned, the storm’s movement, strength, and projected path is changing and developing throughout the day and night; the Office of the Governor and HSEM will be monitoring the movement of Mawar and continue to consult with the National Weather Service and other agencies. Updates will be announced when available and when appropriate. 

For additional information, visit the following:

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