Tropical Depression South Of Chuuk Could Threaten Yap

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Storm likely to track far south of Marianas

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 2, 2014) – Forecasters with the National Weather Service are watching a weather disturbance forming south-southeast of Chuuk, according to the agency.

A statement from the agency states that "all indications" show the system will stay south of the Mariana Islands.

At 2 p.m. yesterday, the National Weather Service reported that a tropical depression had formed south-southeast of Chuuk.

At that time, it was 875 miles southeast of Guam and moving west-northwest at 8 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph.

The Weather Service expects the system to pass "near and just to the south" of Chuuk through today and head toward Yap.

Landon Aydlett, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said models mostly show the system tracking far south of the Marianas.

He said it's possible Guam could experience some clouds and winds but probably nothing very severe.

Although Guam is moving out of typhoon season, Aydlett said it's too soon to say whether the island will see any major storms for the rest of the year.

He said forecasters "can't rule out" any late-season weather systems, noting that the typhoon season typically runs through December.

As the island moves into the dry season, Aydlett said, residents can expect drier, breezy weather.

He added that the dry season can bring with it mid-latitude swells, which Aydlett said are swells coming from areas outside of the tropics and can bring high surf to Guam's north-facing reefs.

High-surf conditions, he said, can cause hazardous conditions for inattentive swimmers.

Aydlett said high surf becomes a concern when surf exceeds 7 feet and currents become exceedingly strong.

Another concern for the dry season is the potential for wildfires.

As Guam's ridges get drier, a risk of fire becomes greater, especially in breezy conditions.

Although that's not a big concern right now, he said, fires become more likely to occur early in the new year, peaking during April, May and June.

A high-surf advisory for Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan currently is in effect until this evening.

The advisory is in effect for north-facing reefs. Hazardous surf between 7 and 9 feet will persist throughout the day, falling below hazardous levels this evening.

The high surf in the region is attributable to a north swell from a strong low-pressure system in the north Pacific, according to the agency's statement.

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