Tropical Storm KOs Power on Guam
SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (AP) _ Rain flooded roads on Guam and power was knocked out in parts of that island and the Northern Mariana Islands on Wednesday as tropical storm Saomai neared the U.S. possessions.
Schools were closed in the Northern Marianas and ferry service between Saipan and Tinian was canceled. The U.S. Navy told its personnel on Guam to secure homes and property and sent its ships out to sea as a precaution.
The storm was 180 miles east of Guam late Wednesday and moving northwest at about 7 mph with sustained wind of 63 mph, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii reported.
The center predicted the storm would pass north of Guam and near Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Marianas late Thursday.
Meteorologists said Saomai was not expected to reach typhoon strength of 75 mph.
Guam, a U.S. territory 3,700 miles west of Hawaii, is the southernmost of the Mariana Islands and has a population of about 150,000.
Most of the roughly 51,000 residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands live on Saipan, and Tinian and Rota each have a few thousand residents.
In December 1997, typhoon Paka swept through Guam and the Northern Marianas with 200 mph wind, causing $82 million in damage.