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By John Ravelo

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Sept. 1) – Tropical storm Nabi intensified into a typhoon and slammed into the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands around noon yesterday with 105mph winds.

Preliminary reports indicate that Saipan escaped major damage, besides some fallen trees, a few damaged homes, and an islandwide power blackout.

At least 564 people took refuge at emergency shelters. Inter-island and international flights were cancelled, stranding hundreds of passengers.

Weather forecasters expect Nabi to further intensify to near-supertyphoon-strength. As of press time, the Emergency Management Office said damage assessment is still being conducted, but it said that there were reports of damaged homes in Dandan.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, the storm left up to five inches of rain in some areas of neighboring Guam but little damage was reported.]

Heavy rainfall associated with the typhoon caused flooding in various villages on Saipan, including the intersection of As Lito and Chalan Monsignor Guerrero in Dandan and portions of Beach Road in Garapan. Fallen trees and political campaign boards blockaded roads such as Chalan Kiya Drive and Airport Road. Poor visibility rendered driving dangerous. The Department of Public Safety and the EMO reported no major road accidents as of press time.

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

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