Typhoon Mawar approaches Guam; risk of floods, landslides

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Authorities issued a flood warning for all of Guam through Thursday morning, as one of the worst storms in decades hit the US territory in the Pacific Ocean.

Doors shook, trees were uprooted and power poles were knocked down as Mawar, a typhoon with heavy rain and winds of up to 140 mph, neared Guam. It weakened from Category 5 strength as it approached the region, but was still at Category 4 strength and near typhoon force conditions as of 1:30 p.m. local time, according to the US National Weather Service Guam.

Weather Service officials said at a briefing Wednesday afternoon that they expect the storm to pass over central Guam between 5pm and 7pm local time. Seas were approaching 30 feet in some areas off the coast.

Ahead of the storm, some US Coast Guard ships sailed away from the land – a hub for US forces in the Pacific – as a precaution, while other ships were towed out of the water or tie them down for heavy weather.

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

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

The Gov. ordered Lou Leon Guerrero (D) Tuesday for residents in low-lying areas along the coast and with floods to go to higher ground. Officials also encouraged people living in houses made of more durable materials including wood and tin to consider moving to emergency shelters. Landslides are a major hazard.

Guam has a population of just over 150,000 people, many of whom live in small towns around the coast. The southern towns of Inalahan, Ipan, Talofo, Malesso, Hagat and Humatak were initially at particular risk of a major storm surge as well as damaging winds, although weather officials later changed their forecasts. forward, saying that a change in wind direction meant it would be likely. The storm’s track would increase water levels and surf on the western and northern sides of Guam.

Residents were stocking up on groceries and fresh water as authorities expected power and water could be out across the island, possibly for days.

Guam has a long history 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 cutting power across the island, and Typhoon Pongsona, a Category 4 storm, hit in 2002.

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

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