Typhoon Mawar is heading towards Guam; risk of flooding, landslide

Typhoon Mawar is heading towards Guam;  risk of flooding, landslide

High winds battered Guam on Wednesday as one of the worst storms in decades battered the U.S. Pacific Territory and authorities issued warnings of flash flooding and extreme winds and asked residents to s shelter indoors.

“Many of us are feeling the full force of Typhoon Mawar right now,” Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (D) said around 4 p.m. local time, calling it a “scary experience that hasn’t been felt in over two decades”.

National Weather Service officials said in a Wednesday afternoon briefing that they expected the storm to pass over central Guam between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time.

The service also issued a warning for “extremely dangerous hurricane winds” covering the northern part of the island until 6:45 p.m. and urged residents to act “like a tornado is approaching.”

Doors slammed, trees were uprooted and utility poles knocked down as Mawar, a typhoon with intense rains and winds of up to 140mph, approached the island. It weakened to Category 5 force as it approached the area, but was still at Category 4 force and approaching typhoon-force conditions at 1:30 p.m. local time, according to the weather service. .

Ahead of the storm, some US Coast Guard vessels left the territory – a hub for US forces in the Pacific – as a precaution, while other vessels were hauled out or docked in heavy weather.

Guam braces for flooding, landslides and high winds from Typhoon Mawar

President Biden also approved an emergency declaration that directs federal authorities to support the local response to the typhoon.

Guerrero on Tuesday ordered residents of low-lying, flood-prone coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground. Officials have also encouraged people living in homes made of more fragile materials, including wood and tin, to consider moving to emergency shelters. Landslides are a major risk.

Guam has a population of just over 150,000 people, many of whom live in villages scattered along the coast. Initially, the southern villages of Inalahan, Ipan, Talofofo, Malesso, Hagat and Humatak were particularly at risk from a severe ocean storm surge in addition to damaging winds, although weather officials later adjusted their forecasts, saying that a change in wind direction meant the likely path of the storm would cause increased water levels and waves along the west and north sides of Guam.

Residents stocked up on groceries and fresh water as authorities predicted power and water could be lost across the island, possibly for days.

Guam has a long list of tropical storms. Typhoon Karen, a Category 5 typhoon in 1962, killed 11 people and left thousands homeless. Typhoon Omar hit the island in 1992, injuring dozens of people, destroying homes and knocking out power across the island, while Typhoon Pongsona, a Category 4 storm, hit in 2002.

Weather officials expect tropical storm-force winds to persist through Thursday morning, urging residents to stay in their homes and shelters until then.

Leave a Comment