Typhoon Bolaven passes Northern Marianas without major damage

Photo: US National Weather Service Guam

Typhoon Bolaven missed directly hitting any of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) travelling between Rota and Tinian.

Typhoon Bolaven was upgraded to a Category 1 typhoon before passing through the CNMI, bringing strong winds and rain to Saipan, Tinian and Rota.

The strongest effects were felt at around 10pm local time on Tuesday.

Saipan International Airport recorded wind speeds of just over 90 kilometres per hour.

The storm also brought in 55 millimetres of rain over the course of 12 hours and the maximum wave height was close to seven meters, according to the buoy off Saipan.

U.S National Weather Service senior meteorologist in Guam, Paul Stanko said for a typhoon, it was “very close to the best-case scenario”, with the eyewall never making a direct hit on an island.

“For having been hit by a tropical cyclone it wasn’t that bad just because it didn’t start really intensifying until after it got away from the Marianas. It’s one of the weaker ones in recent memory,” Stanko said.

Typhoon Bolaven is continuing to intensify but is moving away from the CNMI.

Stanko said the typhoon’s effects should be over by mid-morning on Tuesday.

RNZ Pacific’s CNMI correspondent Mark Rabago, who spent the night in Saipan, called Typhoon Bolvaen a “banana typhoon”, meaning only banana trees got blown over.

“We’re really happy really fortunate that we dodged this one,” Rabago said.

He expects the clean up to only take half a day and for life to return quickly to normal.

A damage assessment still needed to be undertaken by the government.

Mental health was a big focus before the typhoon entered the CNMI because of post-traumatic stress caused by large past typhoons, Rabago said.

“All the memos said take care of your mental health, eat well, sleep well, don’t worry too much.

“Basically, chill and let the government help you.”

The weather update at around 7am dropped the typhoon watch and tropical storm warning, the typhoon warning remains in effect for Rota, Tinian and Saipan.

According to KUAM News, the government is expected to “provide an initial report later on [Wednesday] as agencies convene at the Emergency Operations Centre on Saipan to discuss canceling of conditions””.

“We are expecting the governor to cancel typhoon watch and then once we get the all clear, our team will go out and assess,” Rota Mayor Aubry Hocog told KUAM News. “There were some trees that fell and we need to push them aside to clear road access,” Hocog said.