Typhoon Mawar crawled toward Guam on Wednesday afternoon, bringing hurricane-force winds, snapping trees and knocking out power across much of the United States, authorities said.
Forecasters warned the storm, a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest to approach the Pacific islands in years, could intensify Wednesday night. The Guam Power Authority said the island’s grid only supplies power to about 1,000 of its roughly 52,000 customers, and it was too dangerous for maintenance crews to venture outside.
Brandon Bukunt, a meteorologist with Guam’s National Weather Service, said Mawar Island had not officially landed on Guam as of about 3 p.m. But he added that the storm’s western eyewall had moved to the island and residents were already feeling typhoon-force winds.
As a sign of the storm’s intensity, it knocked out a radar installation sending images of the storm to Mr. Bukunt’s office, and the largest tree outside fell on the driveway.
The roughly 150,000 people who live in Guam, an island the size of Chicago about 1,500 miles east of the Philippines, are accustomed to tropical cyclones. The last major typhoon, Super Typhoon Pongsona, made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in 2002, Caused more than $700 million in damage.
Losses and deaths from major storms on Guam have been minimized in recent years thanks to enhanced building codes and advance warnings. For the most part, when a tropical cyclone hits, “we just grill, relax and adapt,” said Wayne Chargualaf, 45, who works for the local government’s housing authority.
But because it’s been so long since Pongsona, “our entire generation has never experienced this,” he added. “So I started to have a little doubt in my mind. Are we really ready?”
Around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the center of the storm was about 40 miles east-southeast of Guam, the Met Office says renew. The storm is moving northwest at about three miles per hour, and its impact is expected to peak in the evening.
Mr. Buquent said Mawar had weakened from a Category 5 intensity, but its maximum sustained winds remained around 140 mph, the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane. Its southern eyewall remains offshore but has the potential to bring stronger winds and heavy rain to the island.
“That’s where all the really bad weather was before we lost our radar,” he said.
president biden A state of emergency was declared for Guam on Tuesday night, Allow federal agencies to assist with relief efforts. By Wednesday, the island was under a full state of emergency, with evacuation orders in place, flash flood warning And stop commercial aviation.
At Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, all aircraft either left the island ahead of the storm or were placed in hangars, the Air Force said in an email.
tropical cyclone is called typhoon or hurricane depending on their origin. Typically forming from May to October, typhoons are tropical cyclones that develop in the northwestern Pacific Ocean and affect Asia.Research shows that climate change has Increased intensity of tropical cyclonesand the potential for disruption as warmer oceans provide more energy to fuel them.
Mawar, a Malay name meaning “rose,” is the second named storm to hit the western Pacific this season. first, Tropical Storm Sanuweakened in less than two days.
Carlo Sgembelluri Pangelinan, 42, who sells container homes at a store in Barrigada Heights, a hilly, wealthy community near Guam International Airport, said he doubted the storm would be worse than anything he had experienced .
However, Mr Pangelinan added that he was concerned about people without adequate shelter, and animals without owners, including Stray dog.
island population mostly catholicthe Roman Catholic Church in Guam said in a message to its congregation on Wednesday that the fear and anxiety pervading the island is understandable, in part because of the “indelible impression” left by Super Typhoon Puffona, which After more than 20 years it can still be felt.
“There’s always something good in the wind and rain,” the message said. “The kindness and care of the people that have come out in this trial is one of a kind.”
john yoon, victoria king, McKenna Oxendon and Jin Yu Young Contribution report.