TYPHOON CHATA'AN EXPECTED TO STRIKE GUAM FRIDAY MORNING

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By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (July 5, 2002 - Pacific Daily News)---Typhoon Chata'an was expected to pass over or near Guam early this morning.

The approaching typhoon forced the cancellation of several events yesterday, including summer classes at Department of Education schools, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

Several schools around the island were converted to shelters for people seeking refuge from Typhoon Chata'an.

The island was placed in Typhoon Condition 1 at 9 last night, said Roy Tsutsui, military liaison officer.

Chata'an was upgraded from a tropical storm to a typhoon at 4 a.m. yesterday. The island was placed in Typhoon Condition 2 at 9 a.m.

As of 10 p.m., Chata'an was 130 miles southeast of Guam moving northwest at 17 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm was located 12.8 degrees north and 146.6 degrees east.

Cancellations

The Department of Public Health and Social Services' Division of Senior Citizens announced its program services will not be provided today.

Those services include adult day care, senior center operations, transportation services, case management, in-home services, homemaker services and legal assistance services.

The Family Caregiver Support and Elderly Nutrition programs also have been canceled today.

The Navy and Air Force canceled their Fourth of July festivities yesterday. Navy services for today are also expected to be canceled, said Lt. Thurraya Kent, local Navy spokeswoman.

She said the Naval Hospital canceled its routine appointments and other services are shut down in anticipation of the typhoon.

The education department also has canceled all summer school classes today, said Ike Santos, DOE chief planner.

Preparations

Guam Power Authority crews were out on the streets yesterday preparing for the typhoon, said Eric Untalan, GPA assistant general manager for administration.

Crews were trimming tree branches and foliage near power lines, and removing debris near power facilities, he said.

Untalan is asking residents to be patient if power is cut due to high winds from the storm.

After the storm, residents should stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the agency's emergency dispatch.

The power agency also has asked residents to turn off main breakers of all houses connected to generators, to prevent a "back feed" of power, which could injure or kill GPA workers.

The local American Red Cross chapter has a disaster action team on standby and is ready to help and perform damage assessments if the storm hits, Doring Diaz, health and safety coordinator with Red Cross, said.

Hospital

Guam Memorial Hospital yesterday began receiving expectant mothers of at least 36 weeks of gestation and all high-risk mothers of seven months or more, said William Kando, GMH primary response activity coordinator.

They should come in as soon as possible and bring personal bedding, he said.

Expectant mothers will have to check in at the hospital's patient registration and will be housed for the duration of the storm, Kando said.

He also said patients dependent on medical equipment requiring constant electricity must go to the Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada Heights.

Shelters

Twelve shelters around the island are accepting people who live in low-lying areas or substandard homes, said Santos, DOE's chief planner.

The education department also has opened two secondary shelters in Barrigada and Agat.

DOE officials are asking people not to bring weapons, ammunition or alcohol to the school sites.

"If they are drunk when we receive them we will call the police to isolate them until they can be brought back to the common areas," he said.

"We are encouraging them to bring emergency items such as towels, blankets, pillows, water and snack items. Remember these areas are emergency shelters; they are not homes."

No major cooking will be allowed at the sites.

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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