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Home U.S. Typhoon Mawar Lashes Guam With High Winds, Knocking Out Power

Typhoon Mawar Lashes Guam With High Winds, Knocking Out Power

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Typhoon Mawar headed toward Guam on Wednesday afternoon, bringing tree-breaking hurricane-force winds and power outages across much of the U.S. territory, officials said.

The Category 4 hurricane-strength storm is the strongest to approach the Pacific island in years and could intensify by Wednesday night, forecasters warned. The Guam Power Authority said the island’s energy grid supplies power to only about 1,000 of its roughly 52,000 customers, making it too dangerous for repair workers to go outside.

Guam National Weather Service Meteorologist Brandon Bukunto said Mawar had not officially landed on Guam as of mid-afternoon, and the island could be spared a direct hit. But the western eyewall of the storm has moved over the island, and residents are already feeling typhoon-like winds, he added.

A radar unit that sends images of the storm to Bukunto’s office failed, and the largest tree outside his office fell into the driveway.

The roughly 150,000 people living on Guam, an island about the size of Chicago about 1,500 miles east of the Philippines, are accustomed to tropical cyclones. The last major typhoon, Super Typhoon Ponsona, made landfall in 2002 with the momentum of a Category 4 hurricane. caused more than $700 million in damage.

In recent years, Guam has minimized damage and deaths from major storms due to stronger building codes and advance warnings. Wayne Chargualaf, 45, who works for the local government’s housing department, said that when a tropical storm blows through most of the time, “you just have a barbecue, relax and adapt.”

But it’s been a long time since Ponsona, so “our whole generation has never experienced this,” he added. “So a little question started creeping into my mind. Are you really ready?”

The center of the storm was about 40 miles east-southeast of Guam around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Bureau of Meteorology said: update. The storm was traveling northwest at about 3 miles per hour and its impact was expected to peak in the evening.

Bukunt said Mawar had weakened from Category 5 hurricanes, but sustained maximum wind speeds of about 160 miles per hour were still comparable to Category 4 hurricanes. The south eyewall was still offshore, but the heavy rains could bring even stronger winds to the island.

“We had really bad weather there before we lost the radar,” he said.

President Biden declared a state of emergency in Guam Tuesday night, Enable federal agencies to support relief efforts. By Wednesday, the island will have an evacuation order, flash flood alarm and the suspension of commercial aviation.

And at Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base, all aircraft left the island or were in hangars before the storm, the Air Force said in an email.

Tropical cyclones are called typhoons or hurricanes depending on where they form. Typhoons are tropical cyclones that develop in the northwestern Pacific Ocean and affect Asia, which tend to occur from May to October. Studies show that climate change is increasing the intensity of tropical cyclones, increasing their potential for destruction. This is because warmer oceans provide more energy to fuel them.

The Malaysian name ‘Mawar’, which means ‘rose’, is the second named storm in the Western Pacific this season. first time, Tropical Storm Sanveweakened in less than two days.

Carlo Sujemberli Pangelinan, 42, who sells container homes at his store in Barrigada Heights, a wealthy neighborhood in the hills near Guam International Airport, said the storm was worse than any he has experienced. He said he doubted it would come to fruition.

Still, Pangelinan added that he worries about people without proper shelter and animals without caring owners, including stray dogs.

island population are predominantly CatholicAnd Guam’s Roman Catholic Church said Wednesday in a message to its followers that Super Typhoon Ponzona left “an indelible impression” that has been felt for more than 20 years, partly because of the fear spreading across the island. Anxiety is understandable, he said. later.

The message read, “There are good things to be found in the storm.” “One of them is the kindness and compassion that emerges in such trials.”

Jung Yoon, Victoria Kim, mckenna oxenden and Jin Yoo Young contributed to the report.

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