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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 4:54 p.m., Monday, July 8, 2002

Guam cleaning up as new storm approaches

Associated Press

HAGATNA, Guam – Guam residents spent Tuesday local time cleaning up from Typhoon Chata'an while keeping an eye on another approaching storm that forecasters said could become a typhoon.

The National Weather Service issued a typhoon watch tonight for Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan, meaning damaging typhoon strength winds are possible within 48 hours.

Tropical storm Halong was moving toward the Mariana Islands and was expected to reach typhoon strength Wednesday morning.

The storm currently is tracked to pass 100 miles north of Guam, but is expected to hit somewhere in the Marianas, said Paul Stanko, weather service meteorologist.

The storm was located about 185 miles north-northwest of Chuuk, and was safely clear of the Micronesian state where 38 people were killed when Chata'an struck last week.

The storm was carrying winds of 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph Monday night, Stanko said.

"We are just sort of in between the two storms," Stanko said.

Chata`an, with 100 mph winds, caused severe damage and left Guam without electricity and little or no water pressure in some areas. President Bush declared U.S. territory, which is about 3,700 miles southwest of Hawai'i, a disaster area.

The Guam Power Authority said it still doesn't know when power will be restored to residents, according to Eric Untalan, GPA assistant general manager for administration.

A team of Guam doctors has arrived on Chuuk to assist surgeons in treating victims of last weeks landslides. The death toll there is expected to rise as disaster teams continue their assessments of the outer islands.

More than 30 landslides were triggered by rain from Chata'an, which was a tropical storm when it moved across Chuuk.

Hundreds were left homeless and are living in schools and churches. The island's agriculture was destroyed and there was little food, said Tos Nakayama, chairman of Chuuk's damage assessment team.

Nakayama said relief efforts are now focused on delivery of food, water and medical supplies to various islands in Chuuk.