By Barbara Brown
(Tumon, Guam) Tropical Storm Hagibis now is only 537 nautical miles east of Guam, moving westward. It has intensified in strength with maximum sustained winds of 57.5 mph, and the storm has slowed down again to a speed of 19 mph.
The storm might be passing closer to Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan than initially thought. Meteorologists have been noticing the eye formation of Tropical Storm Hagibis is developing further south than previously forecasted, increasing the potential that the storm may move further south than first forecasted.
A tropical storm watch, indicating the onset of damaging winds within the next 24 - 30 hours, is in effect for Guam.
Rota and Agrihan islands are under a tropical storm warning, indicating the onset of damaging winds even sooner.
Tinian on north to Alamagan are under a typhoon warning, signaling the onset of destructive winds within 24 hours.
Indeed, the initial forecasts saw Hagibis passing closest to the far-north island of Alamagan. Earlier today the forecast suggested its closest passing near Anatahan, which is south of Alamagan. As of the past couple hours, the National Weather Service is seeing the storm pass to the north of Saipan; in other words, much closer to the main four islands of the Marianas than first suspected.
These forecasts all are within the trajectory of the storm, which has not changed. Weather experts at NWS, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, and the Japan Weather Association have been clear that the residents of the Marianas should be keeping themselves up to date on information on this storm, as it could move north or south of forecast within the trajectory of the storm.
Guam is on the southern perimeter of the trajectory.
Imran Mahmood, a weather expert stationed in Baguio City who has been tracking the storm, wrote, "Hagibis is forecast to pass north of #Saipan by late tomorrow (Monday) or early Tuesday ChST as a typhoon, however with the center actually farther south, it is possible that forecasts will shift closer to the main islands of the Marianas, although the system's movement is expected to shift more towards the WNW as it nears the area. Those in the #Marianas should closely monitor Hagibis' development and be prepared."
Civil Defense spokeswoman Jenna Blas tells Kandit that Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and her deputy chief of staff, Jon Junior Calvo, are scheduled to meet with Civil Defense and NWS tonight at 9 p.m. to determine the next course of action. She will update us as to whether the governor activates the emergency operations center and the joint information center following that meeting.