Typhoon Mawar: Guam faces damage from severe storm

Typhoon Mawar: Guam faces damage from severe storm


Residents of Guam are facing damage, water supply problems and widespread power outages after the small US territory was hit by high winds and crushing rains from the mighty Typhoon Mawar.

A typhoon warning for the island was lifted at 5 p.m. Thursday, but strong winds persist and residents should stay home until conditions improve, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said.

Guam weathered the worst of the storm’s direct impact as the Eye of Mawar passed just north of the island Wednesday evening local time, battering the island with strong winds and torrential rain.

No deaths were reported and there were no significant injuries, Guerrero told CNN on Thursday, adding that the typhoon had done a lot of damage and flooding, but the situation was not as serious. than the authorities feared.

Water supplies have also been cut off in parts of the island, reporter Gina Reilly told CNN from Barrigada in central Guam on Thursday.

“I have been here for twenty years. It’s the strongest I’ve had,” Reilly said.

Guam Power Authority is now working to restore power, it said in a statement Thursday. It reported on Wednesday that only 1,000 of its roughly 52,000 customers still had power and that Guam Memorial Hospital was running on a backup generator.

Rick Cruz/AP

The Hagatna River overflows its banks and spills into the Bank of Guam parking lot in Hagatna, Guam, on Thursday.

The storm – the strongest to hit the island in decades – was still sweeping the island early Thursday with maximum sustained winds of 140mph and gusts of up to 165mph, the equivalent of a category hurricane 4 in the Atlantic, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said.

As the storm continues to move away from Guam, it has strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, with winds of 175 mph and gusts up to 205 mph. It is not expected to threaten land for the next few days, the warning center said.

The island was inundated with rain, with some areas receiving more than 20 inches in 24 hours. The northern village of Dededo saw 24.5 inches while the central west coast village of Piti had over 22 inches. Although conditions are beginning to improve, the threat is not over. Heavy rain, high winds and strong storm surge are still possible.

“We weathered this storm. The worst is over but we will continue to experience tropical storm winds up to around 40 to 50 mph so again I ask you to stay home for your protection and safety,” Guerrero said in an address. video.

Before the storm landed, officials warned it could bring life-threatening storm surge and dangerous coastal flooding. Residents of low-lying coastal areas were ordered by Guerrero to evacuate as he approached.

Adam Brown/AP

Downed tree branches litter a neighborhood in Yona, Guam on Thursday.

After President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Guam ahead of the typhoon, FEMA said it had more than 130 staff deployed or ready to respond if disaster relief was needed.

The USS Nimitz carrier strike group is also heading to Guam to potentially support post-typhoon recovery efforts, two U.S. defense officials told CNN.

Mawar will continue to move west-northwest away from Guam towards the northern Philippines and Taiwan. The storm is expected to strengthen over the next 12 to 24 hours, before slowly weakening.

Mawar is the fifth storm so far this year to reach this intensity, according to hurricane researcher Jeff Masters. Only five Category 5 force storms develop each year on average, which means that 2023 has already had a year of these powerful storms, with nearly all of the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane/typhoon seasons yet to come.

Guam is home to approximately 150,000 people and several US military installations. Super Typhoon Pongsona hit the island in 2002 with sustained winds of 144 miles per hour and gusts to 173 mph, according to the weather service.

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