EXTREME WEATHER: Pacific Typhoon Dolphin Strikes Guam And Rota – Bringing High Winds And Power Outages! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Typhoon Dolphin is seen near Guam in this RGB satellite image taken Friday, May 15, 2015.      NOAA.gov

May 16, 2015 – GUAM / ROTA – More than 1,100 people took refuge in shelters early Saturday as the center of a powerful Pacific typhoon glanced off Guam, hammering the U.S. territory with high winds, rain and huge waves.

The storm knocked out power, downed trees and canceled flights Friday as it lumbered through a channel between Guam and the tiny tropical island of Rota. It packed maximum winds of 110 mph (177 kph).

The National Weather Service said gusts were expected to gradually decrease to “non-damaging” winds by sunrise.

One injury resulted from Typhoon Dolphin, and that person was taken to a Guam hospital, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Jenna Gaminde said. She had no additional information on the injury.

There also were reports of broken power transformers, said Oyaol Ngirairikl with the Joint Information Center. Ngirairikl said more would be known about damage from the typhoon Saturday.

Weather service meteorologist Patrick Chen said earlier that the weather service lost radar, but based on satellite imagery, he said the storm’s center was moving away from the Marianas Islands, which includes Guam.

WATCH: Typhoon Dolphin Nears Guam / Rota, Typhoon Warnings in Place.

He advised residents to stay indoors: “Don’t venture outside because of down power lines or trees.”

Guam is home to about 160,000 people. It is known for white beaches and historic World War II battle sites, and it depends heavily on tourism.

Residents began seriously preparing for the typhoon Thursday when Gov. Eddie Calvo ordered agencies to take special precautions. That set off longer lines at service stations and increased sales of bottled water.

Eight public schools served as emergency shelters. Three were at capacity early Saturday.

Charles Henry, 28, Clayton Faubion, 25, Charles Harstad, 23, and Jamal Arurag, 19, observe barreling waves behind the University of Guam Marine Lab on the island’s
eastern coast during a powerful Pacific typhoon on Friday, May 15, 2015. The National Weather Service said the center of Typhoon Dolphin had
passed through a 50-mile-wide channel between Guam and the island of Rota. AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordallo

Trees bend and sway in the increasing winds at the Paseo during the approach of Typhoon Dolphin on Friday, May 15, 2015, in Hagatna, Guam. Residents in Guam are
bracing for potentially damaging winds and flooding as Typhoon Dolphin approaches the U.S. territory Friday.   Rick Cruz/The Pacific Daily via AP

Twenty-four pregnant women checked into Guam Memorial Hospital as a precaution, according to Calvo’s office.

Dayann Henry, 28, and 15 family members sought refuge in an emergency shelter at George Washington High School in central Guam.

“When they said the typhoon is going to be big, we went to the mayor and asked for help. The mayor brought us here,” said Henry, who lives in a wood- and tin-framed house.

Charleen Betwell, 30, also checked in at George Washington with several family members.

“I’ve been through typhoons, but this is my first time in a shelter,” she said. “I’m just enjoying looking at the kids play around. It’s good they’re not scared.”

Earlier in the day, Guam was getting some surf, with a beach on the eastern coast reporting 16-foot waves.

National Weather Service meteorologist Genny Miller said the agencies likely will maintain high-surf advisories for 24 hours after the typhoon passes.

Airlines canceled flights scheduled to arrive or depart the island Friday, though Guam International Airport stayed open for stranded passengers. Gaminde said she did not know when flights would resume.


Authorities warned residents in low-lying areas to be on the lookout for flooding and to move to higher ground if necessary.

Typhoons are the same as hurricanes and cyclones. Distinctive terms for the storms are used in different parts of the world.

Tropical weather frequently affects Guam, so much so U.S. military officers like to say it’s in “Typhoon Alley.” Two typhoons and one tropical storm have affected Guam in the past eight months, including Dolphin.

Shelter seekers sleep in their assigned spaces at the Astumbo Elementary School during the early morning hours of Friday, May 15, 2015, in Dededo, Guam. The school was
designated as a typhoon shelter for residents needing a safe place of refuge during the passage of Typhoon Dolphin.   Rick Cruz/The Pacific Daily via AP

The island rarely gets direct hits from typhoons because its land area is so small. The last direct hit was in 2002, when a super typhoon, Pongsona, killed one person and caused about $250 million in damage.

There are two U.S. military bases in Guam, Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam. Both were closed Friday to everyone except for essential personnel.

Anderson reported maximum gusts of 106 mph (170 kph).

Guam and Rota, 50 miles (80 kilometers) away, share a common heritage and native language. Rota has about 2,500 residents, and many buildings there are made of concrete. – PHYS.

Typhoon causes power outage on Rota

Photo courtesy of LJ Castro, public information
specialist for the CNMI Office of the Governor.

Rota residents are recovering from Typhoon Dolphin, the most severe storm in recent memory that caused damage to many homes and schools on the island.

Rota has been without power since Friday afternoon and there is no timetable for when it will be restored.

“It may take some time,” Brien Nicolas, Jr., lead member of the CNMI Homeland Security and Emergency Management team in Rota, said. “It could be three days to two weeks.”

There were no reported injuries due to the storm on Rota but many of the homes suffered apparent severe damage. This was most apparent in tin houses and concrete houses with tin roofs.

Nicolas said Rota Mayor Efraim Atalig is now working with the American Red Cross in CNMI to develop a long-term strategy for residents who lost their homes.

John Hirsh, executive director of ARC for CNMI, said the group has 20 volunteers currently working. Thirty more are on stand-by in Hawaii ready to respond if it becomes necessary.

Thus far the ARC has been visiting neighborhoods to assess damage and deliver tarps and cleaning kits to damaged homes, Hirsh said.

Most housed overnight in shelters in Songsong and Sinapalo returned to their homes — only six remained at island’s primary shelter, the Rota Aging Center, as of noon today, Nicolas said — but many left the shelter to join friends and relatives rather returning to their own homes.Long-term shelters have been identified for Rota, Saipan and Tinian, Hirsh said, but it’s not yet known if they will be needed or if the current short-term shelter at the RAC will be sufficient. Rota Junior-Senior High School was also used as a shelter and could be available through the weekend before classes start back up Monday, Hirsh said.

Sinapalo has been without power since around 11:30 Friday and Songsong since about 2:30 Friday.

Total damage on the island is still being assessed but Nicolas said the mayor and residents are working quickly to battle back.

WATCH: Typhoon Dolphin Lashes Rota Island Near Guam.

Residences and educational buildings are taking precedent, he said, and roads are still being cleared to allow for emergency access. “At the end of the day the one thing the mayor wants out of this is normalcy, to return Rota to the condition it was before the storm,” Nicolas said. “I’ve been very impressed with the people of Rota since I stepped foot here for this typhoon.” – Guam PDN.

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