Joint Information Center – JIC Release No. 8
May 22, 2023, 4:10 p.m. (ChST)
[GMH Updates; Price Gouging Prohibited; Utilities Update; Visitor Industry Update]
The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office Guam continues to monitor Typhoon Mawar as it continues to strengthen and slowly track toward the Marianas.
As of 2:00 p.m. ChST, Mawar was located 340 miles southeast of Guam and 415 miles south-southeast of Saipan near 9.4ºN 147.6ºE moving north-northwestward at 9 mph, with maximum sustained winds now up to 100 mph. Mawar is now a Category-2 typhoon. Mawar is expected to maintain a general north-northwestward motion through Tuesday, then make a gradual turn toward the northwest. As currently forecast, Mawar will pass through the Rota Channel, or over parts of Guam, around midday Wednesday.
A typhoon warning is now in effect for Guam and Rota. A typhoon warning means that damaging winds of 39 mph or more are expected within 24 hours, becoming typhoon force. Tropical storm force winds of 39 to 73 mph are possible as early as late Tuesday afternoon, but most likely later Tuesday evening. Typhoon force winds of 74 mph or more are possible as early as Wednesday morning. Seas are expected to build as high as 30 feet by Wednesday morning.
Hazardous Seas Expected, Remain Out of the Water
The following NWS advisories in effect for Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan:
A high surf advisory remains in effect from 3 p.m. this afternoon to 3 p.m. Thursday, for south facing reefs. Large breaking waves of 7 to 9 feet are expected in the surf zone. A high risk of rip currents remains in effect from 3 p.m. this afternoon through Thursday afternoon, for east and south facing reefs of the Marianas. Dangerous swimming and surfing conditions and localized beach erosion are expected. Remain out of the water.
A small craft advisory remains in effect from 3 p.m. this afternoon to 3 p.m. Thursday. Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in hazardous conditions.
Guam Memorial Hospital Authority (GMHA) will be accepting pregnant mothers who are thirty-six (36) weeks or more and all high-risk pregnant mothers who are twenty-four (24) weeks or more into their pregnancy beginning tonight at 7 p.m. Pregnant mothers who arrive later will still be accepted.
Expectant mothers are asked to please check with their healthcare provider for guidance if they are unsure if they have a high-risk pregnancy.
Upon arrival, pregnant mothers should check in at the Patient Registration Department on the first floor. Expectant mothers will remain at the hospital for the duration of the storm until it is determined to be safe for them to return to their homes at COR 4.
All pregnant mothers are asked to have a complete meal before they check into the hospital this evening. Pregnant mothers are asked to please bring their own clean pillows, blankets, and linens.
All pregnant mothers who need to come to GMH are asked to bring the following for their comfort and convenience:
- ID and insurance cards
- Meals will be provided but mothers are encouraged to bring additional drinking water and snacks that do not require refrigeration or heating
- Any necessary medications
- Mothers asked to bring in their own clean pillows, blankets, and linens so they are comfortable
- Personal toiletries (soap, toothbrush, lotions, etc.)
- Change of clothing
- Entertainment (i.e. games, cards, movies, headphones, books, etc.) to help pass the time
For hospital safety, the following RESTRICTIONS will be in place for all pregnant mothers:
- No escorts, support persons, children, or pets (with the exception of service animals) will be allowed to accompany pregnant mothers
- No smoking/vaping, alcohol, illegal drugs, or weapons will be permitted
Visiting hours are now suspended until further notice, with the exception of approved watchers. All elective outpatient surgeries have been postponed until further notice. Family viewings are suspended and will resume upon declaration of COR 4.
All essential GMHA staff are asked to check in with their hospital supervisors to determine if they are required to report to the hospital or the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). All essential personnel will be required to stay at the facilities until the declaration of COR 4 and relief personnel arrive.
Guam Fire Department Update:
Patients that require constant supplemental oxygen at home are urged to ensure they have filled, backup cylinders to last the duration of the typhoon. Those with powered units should also have an alternative source that does not require electricity in case of power outages.
Residents in low-lying areas and areas prone to flooding are encouraged to relocate to a village shelter or higher ground before the heavy rainfall expected due to Typhoon Mawar.
Residents are urged to keep out of the ocean, inland waters, and hiking trails due to expected flash flooding and treacherous conditions.
Price Gouging Prohibited:
With the declaration of COR 2, and the approach and uncertainties of Typhoon Mawar, the Attorney General of Guam (AGO) reminds the public that during times of emergency Guam law requires the following from merchants and landlords:
- Price Gouging Prohibited: merchants & landlords cannot increase the price of goods in advance of a possible disaster (i.e. tropical storm / typhoon)
- Upon declaration of COR 2, all prices of wholesale and retail goods shall be frozen, and shall be frozen until 72 hours after declaration of COR 4 (5 GCA § 32201(c)(21)(E)
- Rent can be frozen up to 120 days after a disaster upon executive order of the governor
Penalties to violators shall include:
- 3 times the gross profits or 5 times amount of overcharges, whichever is greater
As our community prepares, the AGO trusts that the business community and all merchants will not take advantage of people in our time of need. The AGO is prepared to receive complaints. Complaints can be made by visiting the AGO website at oagguam.org, clicking on the “action message” on the home page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Guam Power Authority (GPA) and Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) Customer Services Centers
and Business Offices are closed due to the approach of Tropical Storm Mawar and
Guam being placed into Condition of Readiness (COR) 2. All GPA & GWA employees and
are asked to report to work, especially to secure their work area.
GPA Customers can make payments online with a debit or credit card by visiting PayGPA.com,
myenergyguam.com or download the Pay GPWA app or pay by phone through the
toll free auto phone payment at 1 (855) 977-2002.
GWA Customers can make payments with a debit card or credit card over the phone by calling GWA at
(671) 647-7800 or online by visiting PayGWA.com.
Guam Power Authority Update:
GPA advises the public that it has begun its pre-storm preparation on the island-wide power system. Protective measures at the power plants and substations will be taken to minimize the threat of storm/typhoon damage.
The Transmission & Distribution (T&D) line crews will focus on tree-trimming and vegetation control as high winds can blow vegetation into power lines. Customers are advised to safely clear debris and vegetation that may pose a hazard during windy conditions. Please report any power related emergencies or down power line to GPA via its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/guampowerauthority) or call GPA’s 24-hour Trouble Dispatch desk at 671-475-1472/73/74.
GPA will know the areas experiencing outages via its SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and smart grid management systems. Therefore, they ask customers to keep calls to a minimum and limit calls to emergency safety situations only (down lines/poles, sparking lines and transformers and other immediate dangers).
GPA urges residents to take precautions and protect or unplug sensitive electronic equipment to prevent damage due to lightning strikes or power surges. Customers are also advised that if you are experiencing power fluctuations, brownouts, extremely bright lights, dimming/flickering lights, or water coming out of your outlets, turn off your main breaker as you may cause damage to other appliances.
If you need to evacuate to an emergency shelter, before you leave home, shut off your incoming electricity at the main breaker or switch, usually located by the electric meter or in the circuit breaker panel.
If you are dependent on an electrically-powered life support system, consider having a backup generator. Otherwise, make plans ahead of time to go to an alternate location where electricity will be available such as hospitals. Be prepared to take your medical equipment and medications with you.
GPA further advises customers operating generators for either residential or commercial purposes, especially a large generator, to please SHUT OFF THE MAIN CIRCUIT BREAKER(S) OF ALL HOUSE(S) OR BUILDING(S) THAT ARE CONNECTED TO YOUR GENERATOR. Also, when operating personal generators to service homes or businesses, customers should ensure that it is operating in an open, well ventilated area to prevent adverse effects from inhalation of fumes. For your personal safety and the safety of your family members or employees, double check and make sure that your generator is not in an enclosed area or located next to your air conditioner’s air intake and/or other air ducts leading into the dwelling areas in your homes or establishments.
During the storm, the Guam Power Authority will continue to run the island wide power system and keep the power on for as long as possible. Power plants will be operational as long as it is capable and safe to do so. T&D personnel will be in the field to address power problems, up to the point when supervisors out in the field state it is no longer safe to do so and field crews will be secured. Again, as the storm approaches and winds pick up, we will eventually have to secure all personnel for safety reasons. Thereafter, as circuits trip, we may need to secure and bring units offline until it is safe to resume operations.
Visitor Industry Update:
The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) is working the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Guam (GIAA) and the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association (GHRA) to help prepare the visitor industry for Typhoon Mawar.
Guam’s source markets have been informed about the coming typhoon, as well as industry partners to include travel agents, travel trade, hotels and airlines. Hotel guests are also being informed to stay out of the coastal waters until weather conditions improve.
GVB has activated its visitor concierge program to assist with visitors that speak Japanese, Korean and Mandarin Chinese for any emergencies. The main hotline to call is (671) 588-3030. GVB’s Visitor Safety Officers are also working together with the Department of Parks and Recreation to keep local residents and visitors safe and updated.
The Guam airport has advised its tenants and airline partners of the impending heavy weather. The schedule for arrivals and departures remains normal at this time. Passengers are encouraged to check directly with their respective airlines for any change in flight status or if they wish to reschedule their flights to or from Guam. Travelers can also go to guamairport.com.
Visit the following links for the latest advisory information:
- NWS Website: https://www.weather.gov/gum/
- NWS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NWSGuam/
- GHS/OCD Website: https://ghs.guam.gov/
- GHS/OCD Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GHSOCD/
- JRM Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jrmguam
For more information, contact the Joint Information Center at (671) 478-0208/10 or the GHS/OCD 24/7 watch desk at (671) 475-9600.