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By Theresa Merto Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (October 22, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Typhoon Podul is highly unlikely to hit or affect Guam, but residents said they are prepared if it does so.

"It is a possibility that we will get high surf, but not rain showers in the next few days," said National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Birchard.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center upgraded Tropical Storm Podul to a typhoon at 10 a.m. yesterday.

As of 4 p.m., Podul was located 780 miles east of Guam, at 11.8 degrees north latitude and 156.3 degrees east longitude, and was moving north at 10 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center Web site.

At 1 p.m., the typhoon was 400 miles northeast of Chuuk and 230 miles north-northwest of Pohnpei.

"It is moving parallel to the Marianas, basically to open ocean," Birchard said. "There are no inhabited islands in its path."

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph with gusts to 90 mph.

"It will continue to intensify," Birchard said.

Podul, a Korean word for willow tree, was named by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

As part of the World Meteorological Organization, the Japanese agency is responsible for naming tropical storms in this part of the Pacific.

The weather service will issue advisories and special weather statements as needed and those will be published on their Internet site.

Always ready

Several residents yesterday said they will be ready if a storm hits the island.

"We have lived through big earthquakes and even bigger typhoons," said Tom Cruz, 36, of Mangilao. "I'm not worried."

Cruz said his family has a normal routine when a typhoon is expected.

"I'll just put up the shutters, get all the canned goods and just hope the power does not go out," Cruz said.

When storms pass and it is safe again to go outside, Cruz said, he usually cooks a big meal for his family, so the food inside his refrigerator is not wasted.

"We always have a barbecue," he said.


On Oct. 13, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook the island.

The following day, 59 Barrigada residents were evacuated from their homes because of flash flooding.

Dededo resident Maria Delos Reyes said she is glad there were no serious injuries during those major events.

"It surprises me," Delos Reyes, 42, said. "I guess Guam really is a safe place to stay."

But despite the slight possibility of Podul affecting Guam, Delos Reyes yesterday purchased a package of batteries.

"Just in case," she said.



By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (October 21, 2001 – Pacific Sunday News)--Tropical Storm Podul has increased speed and is expected to intensify into a typhoon, but it is too early to tell if it will affect Guam.

Last night, Podul was moving at 9 mph on its path north between the islands of Chuuk and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia.

The storm may be headed to the Mariana Islands in the next few days, according to the National Weather Service on Guam.

"The depression was upgraded to a tropical storm ... (Friday) night," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Ward. "Right now it's way too early to tell (if it will continue towards the Marianas) so even at the three-day mark it is still quite a ways away."

Ward said Podul, which is Korean for willow tree, was named by the Japan Meteorological Agency. As part of the World Meteorological Organization, the Japanese agency is responsible for this part of the Pacific.

As of 8 p.m. yesterday, Podul was located 270 miles east of Chuuk at 7.8 degrees north latitude and 156.2 degrees east longitude and moving north. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph with higher gusts.

"This is a slow-moving system," Ward said. "In some ways that can be bad because it gives the system more time to intensify."

Ward said that fast-moving systems tend to blast over areas while slower ones such as 1997's Supertyphoon Paka tend to hang around areas for a while, "so slow is not good."

Ward also added that Guam's current weather, which is typical for October, has nothing to do with Podul, but is from trade winds picking up moisture.

Civil defense earthquake and typhoon program manager Leo Espia said Podul is about 900 miles southeast of Guam.

"We are not in a position to issue a warning to Guam right now, as the storm is slow moving and very far away," Espia said.

With the possibility of Tropical Storm Podul reaching Guam within the next week, a few of the island's supermarkets are noticing residents beginning to stock up.

The Dededo Bunny Market has been selling a lot of candles and canned goods, store manager Andy Varghaase said. He added that people also are buying butane gas lamps.

"It's been busy since (Friday)," said Virgie Campo, head cashier at Pay-Less Supermarket at the Agana Shopping Center. "People are just taking precautions and being prepared. They're getting a head start."

Campo added that most people are stocking up on batteries and canned goods.



By Scott Radway Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (October 20, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Tropical Depression 26W is inching its way toward Chuuk and is expected to intensify into a typhoon that could make its way to Guam in four or five days.

"When it forms near Chuuk and Pohnpei this time of year, typically, they tend to move towards the Marianas," said Dan Mundell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) on Guam.

The weather service has issued a tropical storm watch for Chuuk and Lukunor as the depression -- moving at just over 1 mph -- slowly closes the about 300-mile gap between it and those islands.

At 7 p.m., the depression was located at 5.6 degrees north latitude and 156 east longitude with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, according to the NWS bulletin.

During the next 24 hours, the depression is expected to speed up and intensify to a tropical storm, and during the next few days, become a typhoon, Mundell said.

It is still too early in the depression's development to predict its exact track, Mundell added.

"The main thing is, people should be aware that something is out there and make sure their typhoon kits are properly stocked," Mundell said.

Mundell said at this stage people should just make sure they have all their typhoon kit staples, such as batteries and water, to avoid a last-minute trip to the store.

Historically, a high pressure ridge that forms in the region this time of year steers storms toward the Mariana Islands, Mundell said.

"It can move in any direction it wants to right now, but the usual track is towards the west-northwest or the northwest, this time of year," Mundell said.

Progress watched

Civil defense earthquake and typhoon program manager Leo Espia said the office is watching the depression progress hour to hour in the event that it does make its way here.

"We are plotting this one and we will issue advisories to the public if need be," Espia said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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