SANTA RITA, Guam — The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) established Port Heavy Weather Condition X-RAY for the ports of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) as of 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023.
The COTP upgraded the condition level in preparation for Tropical Storm Bolaven.
As of 7 a.m., the current National Weather Service forecast projects the storm to make its closest point of approach to Rota early Tuesday morning. Guam and the CNMI are under a typhoon watch and a flood watch.
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam is working proactively with port partners and the commercial industry to assess and mitigate risks to the port and vessels despite the holiday weekend by reviewing heavy weather plans and ensuring facilities and vessels are ready for the storm well in advance.
Port Heavy Weather Condition X-RAY indicates winds above 39 mph are expected within 48 hours.
As the storm approaches, if necessary, the COTP will direct a shift to Port Heavy Weather Condition YANKEE, meaning strong winds, faster than 39 miles per hour, are expected within the next 24 hours. Simply put, it's a sign that bad weather is coming soon.
Here is what happens when PHWC Yankee is declared:
1. All commercial ships still present need to get ready to finish loading and unloading their cargo and leave the ports of Guam and the CNMI.
2. If there are ships that can't move on their own, like those with no power, or other types of vessels like barges and drydocks that can't go out to sea, they must quickly send a written request to the COTP and have a plan to ride out the storm.
3. Once PHWC Yankee is in effect, all big commercial ships, those equal to or bigger than 200 tons, must leave, and no more ships are allowed to enter the ports.
4. If it gets even worse, and PHWC Zulu is declared, the ports and marinas will be completely closed to any incoming traffic, and all cargo and bunker operations will stop.
Remember, these actions are taken to keep everyone safe during the bad weather, reduce possible damage, and protect the port for faster reopening to resume the flow of vital commerce and any necessary relief supplies.
The U.S. Coast Guard sets Port Heavy Weather Conditions for the maritime community and ports. They generally describe restrictions needed to protect life, vessels, facilities, ports, and the environment from severe weather. PHWCs are similar to the Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness, but officials do not always set them in tandem.
For the latest advisory information, visit:
- National Weather Service (NWS) Website: https://www.weather.gov/gum/
- NWS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NWSGuam/
- Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense (GHS/OCD) Website: https://ghs.guam.gov/
- GHS/OCD Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GHSOCD/
- Joint Region Marianas (JRM) Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jrmguam