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State and Region briefs for February 22

Typhoon expected to lash Guam with gusty wind, rain

HAGATNA, Guam — A growing typhoon in the Pacific was heading toward the Mariana Islands on Thursday and could lash Guam with strong winds, rain and surf this weekend.

The National Weather Service in Guam reports Typhoon Wutip was packing 100 mph winds and will continue to intensify through Saturday. The storm was about 480 miles southeast of Guam as of Thursday morning.

Typhoon warnings remain in place for parts of the Federated States of Micronesia, and tropical storm warnings are in effect for Guam and other nearby islands. The typhoon is expected to track just south of Guam today and into the weekend.

“When it’s near Guam, (wind) will be up to 115 mph, but we won’t see that on the island,” said meteorologist Michael Ziobro with the weather service in Guam.

The peak season for typhoons in the region is late summer into fall, but strong storms in the winter are not uncommon.

“The Western Pacific is the only basin on the planet that has tropical cyclones year-round,” said meteorologist Tom Birchard with the National Weather Service in Honolulu. “It’s somewhat unusual, but it’s not outside the realm of expectation.”

Pali Highway traffic to be affected following landslide

HONOLULU — Traffic on the Pali Highway bound for Honolulu will be diverted into the Kailua-bound lanes after large debris and concrete fell onto the highway during multiple landslides, said state transportation officials.

Department of Transportation officials said the road will be affected for months as they make repairs.

The morning contraflow for town-bound commuters will go from 5-9 a.m., with no lanes for Kailua-bound traffic. From 3-7 p.m., the Kailua-bound lanes will be used for windward-bound traffic only.

The highway otherwise will be closed as crews work to stabilize the slopes around the Pali Tunnel, said state DOT Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen said.

Officials will extend Kalanianaole Highway’s morning high-occupancy vehicle contraflow lanes until 9 a.m. to help ease congestion.

The problem started Monday after multiple landslides closed the highway in both directions.

One landslide occurred in the Kailua-bound direction after the second tunnel and another landslide occurred between the two tunnels in the Honolulu-bound direction.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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