Monthly Archives: June 2004

Fucking GPA

Crap.

So I was at an after-work BBQ this evening, a going away party for this guy Darryl at work. He quit the company last Friday and he’s moving back to Hawaii on Friday. The boys at the warehouse threw Darryl a party at one of the pavilions along Marine (Corps) Drive tonight, right past Alupang Tower Condos. There was a gang there and we had a blast. Lots of beer, a couple trucks bumping the tunes, good food and good time for all.

As the party started to break up, a couple of the boys suggested heading out to the bars, possibly a titty bar or two. “No, no,” I said, “I need to head home and do some stuff around the house.” I begged off despite repeated entreaties, and jumped in my car to head home.

I was a little drunk and I really wanted to just chill out, but by the time I got to Yona the damn power was out. Again. I arrived home to sit in a dark, sweltering house for over an hour until the power came back. Damn. Talk about a buzzkill.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too angry, the power came back on at 10:00 p.m. Yet I am still angry. Eleven years I’ve lived here and still, on any given night, the power will go out. It’s so damn frustrating.

Okay One Last Look

Before I consign tropical storm Tingting to the dustbin of my archives, how about a picture of my doctor fearlessly crossing the floodwaters on Route 4 in Pago Bay? I saw this photo in Monday’s paper and I said “That’s my doctor! He must be heading to the hospital for a medical emergency.” Well he was just up here at our offices and I mentioned seeing the photo in the paper. He told me his wife and kids were in the car, screaming at him to stop. He turned back when the same section of road was flooded after Pongsona, but he figured if he was ever going to cross the expanse, that was the time. There were plenty of towtrucks waiting, plus the cameras from KUAM and photographers from the PDN.

Dr. Ed parts the waters of Route 4

I still haven’t attempted crossing that flood. It’s still there three days after the torrential rains. I am afraid the Blue Torpedo won’t make it through the water since it is so low to the ground. I’ve been driving through Pulantat, bouncing along a gravel road up to Leo Palace, and then coming out in Ordot by Agueda Johnston middle school. The large portion of the road to Leo Palace is washed out and only one lane is passable in that part, but crews are working hard to repair the damage.

Tingting Leaves Casualities

Yesterday a man died from injuries he sustained during Tropical Storm Tingting on Sunday. He was in his car in Ylig Bay, just below where I live, when a storm surge swamped his car.

A man was also swept over the reef in Tumon and has not been recovered. Five kayakers were lost over the reef in Piti yesterday as well. The surf is still wild from Tingting on the western side of the island. While search & rescue spotted three empty kayaks yesterday, no one has been recovered yet.

Wet, Soggy, But Still Here

Wow. That was worse than anybody expected. For a tropical storm, Tingting delivered a hell of a punch. My power went out last night around 1:30 a.m. and it just returned about 20 minutes ago. Mudslides, flash floods, and almost 20 inches of rain rattled the island yesterday. This is now the wettest June ever recorded on island.

I was up all night mopping up wind driven rain that was pouring in through my front door – just like during Typhoon Pongsona 18 months ago. I really need to get storm shutters on my front door.

Anyway, the storm was upgraded to Typhoon Tingting this morning, and it is currently wreaking havoc on Saipan. The rains slacked off around 7:00 this morning on Guam and I was finally able to get some shut eye.

The roads into my village are impassable, with Pago Bay Bridge closed because of flooding, and Ylig Bay Bridge closed due to mudslides. It is possible to make it out through Pulantat and past Leo Palace, but the road in Ordot is flooded and impassable to everything but 4×4’s. So I am sitting tight today, cleaning up my house and yard. At least the power came back on.

All told I feel lucky. Some people got flooded out of their homes, and others found their homes half-buried in mud and muck.

Here’s the latest colorized satellite photo from NOAA:
Colorized infrared satellite photo
Tingting is the one on the right, just above Saipan. That other one with the well-developed eye is Typhoon Mindulle, which was the source of last Monday’s torrential rains.

And here’s a photo I took yesterday afternoon of the wind and rain.
Tingting stirs things up in my backyard

It was pretty wild and hairy yesterday. Ylig Bay is littered with downed trees washed onto the reef, and the silt washed down from Manenggon Hills stretches miles out into the Pacific.
Silt and washed up trees in Ylig Bay

13+ Inches and Counting

The storm continues unabated. I’ve been mopping my floor for hours, beating back the flow of water. All flights have been diverted and emergency shelters are open in the schools for refugees. Flash flooding and mudslides are reported all over the island. In fact, the Route 4 just below me is closed because of a mudslide in the construction zone.

Between midnight and 7:00 p.m. over 13 inches of rain were recorded at the Guam International Airport. That’s a lot of rain. And it seems like most of that rain is coming through my front door.

A FLASH FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 PM.
A FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM MONDAY.
AT 700 PM LST...DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR INDICATED A SLOW-MOVING AREA
OF TORRENTIAL RAIN OVER GUAM WITH RAINFALL RATES UP TO 2 INCHES PER
HOUR. NEW HEAVY SHOWERS CONTINUE TO FORM TO THE NORTHWEST OF GUAM...
THEN TRACK TO THE SOUTHEAST ACROSS THE ISLAND.
PRELIMINARY RAINFALL TOTALS FROM MIDNIGHT THROUGH 7 PM INCLUDE...
GUAM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT... 13.50 INCHES
MANGILAO AUTOMATED OBSERVATION... 10.37 INCHES
INARAJAN AUTOMATED OBSERVATION... 9.20 INCHES
MERIZO AUTOMATED OBSERVATION... 5.93 INCHES
APRA HARBOR AUTO OBSERVATION... 4.95 INCHES
IF YOU LIVE IN A FLOOD-PRONE AREA...AT THE BASE OF MOUNTAIN
VALLEYS...OR NEAR STREAMS AND RIVERS...GO TO HIGHER GROUND AT
ONCE. AVOID DRIVING IN THE WARNED AREA. NEVER TRY TO CROSS A
FLOODED ROAD.
SHELTERS ARE NOW OPEN AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS ON GUAM...
FB LEON GUERRERO MIDDLE SCHOOL
GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL
INARAJAN MIDDLE SCHOOL
HS TRUMAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Tropical Storm Ting Ting

Okay, the power is still on, but I am getting some flooding in my house. Not from the windows – those are shuttered – but from my front door. It’s got a 1/4 inch gap at the bottom and it is taking the brunt of the wind and rain right now. The winds are coming from the southwest right now, reminiscent of Typhoon Pongsona, when I spent 8 hours pushing against that same door to keep it from blowing open.

Here’s the latest forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
WTPN32 PGTW 270300
MSGID/GENADMIN/NAVPACMETOCCEN PEARL HARBOR HI/JTWC//
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNING//
RMKS/
1. TROPICAL STORM 11W (TINGTING) WARNING NR 007
02 ACTIVE TROPICAL CYCLONES IN NORTHWESTPAC
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS BASED ON ONE-MINUTE AVERAGE
---
WARNING POSITION:
270000Z9 --- NEAR 13.8N2 149.3E7
MOVEMENT PAST SIX HOURS - 320 DEGREES AT 11 KTS
POSITION ACCURATE TO WITHIN 060 NM
POSITION BASED ON CENTER LOCATED BY SATELLITE
PRESENT WIND DISTRIBUTION:
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 050 KT, GUSTS 065 KT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 010 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
010 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
010 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
010 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 045 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
095 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
095 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
REPEAT POSIT: 13.8N2 149.3E7
---
FORECASTS:
12 HRS, VALID AT:
271200Z2 --- 14.7N2 147.9E1
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 060 KT, GUSTS 075 KT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 015 NM
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 050 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
100 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
100 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 24 HR POSIT: 305 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
24 HRS, VALID AT:
280000Z0 --- 15.8N4 146.4E5
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 065 KT, GUSTS 080 KT
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 020 NM
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 055 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
105 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
105 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
OVER WATER
060 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 36 HR POSIT: 315 DEG/ 10 KTS
---
36 HRS, VALID AT:
281200Z3 --- 17.2N0 145.0E0
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 075 KT, GUSTS 090 KT
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 010 NM
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 025 NM
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 060 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
OVER WATER
100 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
OVER WATER
105 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
090 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 48 HR POSIT: 340 DEG/ 09 KTS
---
EXTENDED OUTLOOK:
48 HRS, VALID AT:
290000Z1 --- 18.9N8 144.3E2
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 085 KT, GUSTS 105 KT
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 015 NM
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 030 NM
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 100 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
105 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
105 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
110 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 72 HR POSIT: 000 DEG/ 08 KTS
---
72 HRS, VALID AT:
300000Z3 --- 22.1N5 144.4E3
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 090 KT, GUSTS 110 KT
RADIUS OF 064 KT WINDS - 020 NM
RADIUS OF 050 KT WINDS - 040 NM
RADIUS OF 034 KT WINDS - 120 NM NORTHEAST QUADRANT
105 NM SOUTHEAST QUADRANT
105 NM SOUTHWEST QUADRANT
110 NM NORTHWEST QUADRANT
VECTOR TO 96 HR POSIT: 025 DEG/ 12 KTS
---
LONG RANGE OUTLOOK:
NOTE...ERRORS FOR TRACK HAVE AVERAGED NEAR 250 NM
ON DAY 4 AND 350 NM ON DAY 5... AND FOR INTENSITY
NEAR 20 KT EACH DAY.
---
96 HRS, VALID AT:
010000Z1 --- 26.3N1 146.6E7
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 095 KT, GUSTS 115 KT
VECTOR TO 120 HR POSIT: 040 DEG/ 12 KTS
---
120 HRS, VALID AT:
020000Z2 --- 30.1N4 150.2E8
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS - 100 KT, GUSTS 125 KT
---
REMARKS:
270300Z2 POSITION NEAR 14.0N5 148.9E2.
TROPICAL STORM (TS) 11W (TINGTING) LOCATED
APPROXIMATELY 260 NM EAST OF GUAM HAS TRACKED
NORTHWESTWARD AT 11 KNOTS OVER THE PAST 06 HOURS.
THE WARNING POSITION IS BASED ON 262330Z6
MULTISPECTRAL SATELLITE IMAGERY. THE WARNING
INTENSITY IS BASED ON SATELLITE CURRENT INTENSITY
ESTIMATES OF 35, 45 AND 55 KNOTS. ANIMATED MULTI-
SPECTRAL SATELLITE IMAGERY REVEALS TIGHLTY CURVED
BANDS WRAPPING INTO THE LOW LEVEL CIRCULATION CENTER
FROM THE SOUTH. UPPER LEVEL ANALYSIS INDICATES
INCREASED VERTICAL WIND SHEAR POLEWARD OF THE
SYSTEM DUE TO INTERACTION WITH THE RIDGE NORTH OF
THE SYSTEM. MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT 270000Z9
IS 15 FEET. REFER TO WWPW30 RJTX FOR ADDITIONAL SEA
HEIGHT INFORMATION. NEXT WARNINGS AT 270900Z8, 271500Z5,
272100Z2 AND 280300Z3. REFER TO TROPICAL STORM 10W
(MINDULLE) WARNINGS (WTPN31 PGTW) FOR SIX-HOURLY UPDATES.//

WHOOSH

It’s almost noon, and the weather is getting worse and worse. Constant rain, and the winds are easily 30-35 mph right now, with gusts closer to 40 mph. I closed the typhoon shutters around 9:30 this morning. I wasn’t afraid of flying debris, just rain water leaking through the windows because of this sustained wind. Normally this kind of weather wouldn’t affect the power grid, but GPA struggled to keep the island electrified this past week. I am worried the power will go out soon given the system’s instability. And that would suck, especially since I am doing laundry today.

Ting Ting threatens the Marianas - &copy Pacific Daily News

Space Updates

A quick linkfest to a couple NASA missions:

  • Cassini beams back new image of Titan – Cassini sent back another amazingly detailed image of cloudy Titan this week, one of the best images of the planet-sized moon yet. Cassini is nearing a critical burn to enter orbit around Saturnian system later this week. If anything goes wrong, the probe will continue past Saturn and be lost in deep space. Let’s hope seven years of space travel hasn’t affected the rocket motor adversely. I am really excited about what new wonders Cassini will unveil at Saturn. It is an eerily beautiful world.
  • Mars rovers continue to impress – The Opportunity rover continues a delicate traverse into Endurance Crater, uncovering new geologic layers in exposed rock, while Spirit explores the Columbia Hills. NASA really put together a couple amazing rovers. They both continue functioning, well after their 3-month expected lifespan, with only a few systems succumbing to the intense cold of the Martian winter. I never thought Spirit would make it to those distant Columbia Hills, but I was happily proved wrong. This extended mission helped paint a fuller picture of a wet, water soaked Mars that existed eons ago.

Tropical Storm TingTing

Tropical Depression 11W intensified into a Tropical Storm yesterday, and Tropical Storm Tingting is bearing down on the Marianas. Current storm track places it to the northeast of Saipan in about a day. Current position: 13.0&deg N 150.0&deg E, or about 350 miles east of Guam and moving to the northwest at 8 knots (~9 mph). Maximum sustained winds are 45 knots (52 mph), with gusts to 55 knots (63.25 mph).

It doesn’t look like Guam is going to get hit at this point, but feeder band activity is pretty intense this morning. Saipan is going to get much worse as this thing intensifies. Time to go secure stuff in the yard, flip over the lawn tables, bring in the chairs and stuff before they go flying.

DOC Officials To Repay Overtime

Over a year ago, the Office of the Public Auditor released the results of an audit on the Department of Corrections. Particularly glaring were the shenanigans involving the prison’s payroll, with all sorts of inconsistencies and oddities like the warden collecting 62 hours of overtime in a three day period, and the chief parole officer bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in overtime in both 2001 and 2002. The Civil Service Commission met yesterday and decided that the two high-ranking officials at the Department of Corrections who were paid thousands of dollars in overtime will have to pay that money back. Basically they were in supervisory positions and were ineligible for overtime pay.

Just What We Need, More Rain…

Current Watches, Warnings and Advisories for Guam Issued by the National Weather Service: “SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
Guam (Guam)

GUZ001-002-003-004-260300-
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TIYAN GU
2 AM LST SAT JUN 26 2004
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION 11W FORMS EAST OF GUAM...
TROPICAL DEPRESSION (TD) 11W HAS DEVELOPED EAST OF THE MARIANA
ISLANDS AND IS CENTERED NEAR LATITUDE 11.7 DEGREES NORTH AND
LONGITUDE 152.1 DEGREES EAST. THIS IS AROUND 510 MILES
SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF GUAM AND ABOUT 490 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF
SAIPAN. TD 11W IS MOVING WEST AT 6 MPH WITH MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS
NEAR 35 MPH. THE TROPICAL DEPRESSION IS EXPECTED TO TURN MORE
TOWARDS THE NORTHWEST AND INTENSITY TO A TROPICAL STORM OVER THE
NEXT 24 HOURS.
THE CURRENT FORECAST TRACK KEEPS TD 11W TO THE EAST OF GUAM AND
SAIPAN...HOWEVER SINCE THIS A POORLY DEFINED SYSTEM A SIGNIFICANT
CHANGE IN THE FORECAST TRACK MAY OCCUR. IT IS IMPORTANT TO CLOSELY
MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF TD 11W. STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO FOR
UPDATED FORECASTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OR TUNE IN TO
YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL MEDIA SOURCE FOR INFORMATION.
$$
ZIOBRO"

Thank God For Mozilla

If there was ever a time to be thankful I don’t use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, this is it. Unfortunately Microsoft’s crappy, flawed software is ubitquitous in the world today, and I am sure I’ve visited more than a few of the infected sites the article mentions. BBC NEWS | Technology | Web browser flaw prompts warning

The net watchdog, the US Computer Emergency Reponse Center, and the net security monitor, the Internet Storm Center, have both issued warnings about the combined threat of compromised websites and browser loophole.

Cert said: “Users should be aware that any website, even those that may be trusted by the user, may be affected by this activity and thus contain potentially malicious code.”

In its round-up of the threat the Internet Storm Center bluntly stated that users should if possible “use a browser other then MS Internet Explorer until the current vulnerabilities in MSIE are patched.”

Sorensen Interviewed By KUAM On Air America

I saw Rex Sorensen walking his dog yesterday morning, so I knew he was back on island. Then KUAM ran this story, Nobody was duped: Sorensen denies allegations surrounding Air America, about Sorensen’s involvement with Air America and what went wrong. The article mentions a Wall Street Journal article about Sorensen and Montvel-Cohen. I missed that WSJ piece since I don’t subscribe, but KUAM’s interview is interesting.

The Return Of The Sun

The clouds and rain finally broke apart yesterday morning, leaving glorious sunshine in their wake. The rain and lousy weather from Monday and Tuesday has developed into a tropical storm rumbling off towards Taiwan. Tropical Storm 10W (Mindulle) is located at 17&deg N, 140.2&deg E and moving west/northwest at almost 13 miles per hour. That puts it about 390 miles away now, and leaving clear skies in its wake. But the weather is still very volatile here in the tropics, and it looks like more rain for this weekend. I guess the rainy season has started in earnest.