The island of Guam is bracing for a “direct hit” from Super Typhoon Mawar, the biggest storm the Pacific island nation has seen in decades.
The National Weather Service (NWS) called the storm a “very serious situation” for Guam, home to about 168,000 people.
“The current forecast is not favorable for our island,” Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said in an emergency message. – We are in the crossroads of typhoon Mawar. Act now, stay calm, stay informed and stay safe.”
The governor ordered the evacuation of all residents from “low-lying, flood-prone and coastal areas” of the island, including several villages on Guam’s southern coast.
Super Typhoon Mawar is slowly crossing the Pacific Ocean heading toward Guam and the Mariana Islands (Image: NASA/ZUMA Press Wire Service/Shutterstock)
Guamians were told to seek shelter in either private homes or designated government shelters by 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. The NWS recommended that these buildings have reinforced concrete walls and roofs.
Mawar is expected to hit the island with a triple threat of strong winds, a strong storm surge and devastating flooding.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mawar had sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, classifying it as a typhoon. Forecasters predict wind gusts of up to 160 miles per hour when it hits Guam Tuesday night.
In the Pacific, a storm develops into a super typhoon when it sustains winds above 150 miles per hour. By comparison, a storm in the Atlantic becomes a Category 5 hurricane when it sustains winds of more than 155 miles per hour.
Guam prepares for Super Typhoon Mawar (Credit: AP)
Guamanians fill fresh water in the village of Yigo (Photo: AP)
Forecasters predict a storm surge of about 6 to 10 feet above the standard high tide level, but say it could reach up to 15 feet in some areas.
Water conditions are expected to be “deadly for small craft and dangerous for larger craft,” the NWS said. Storm surges are expected to reach heights of 20 to 25 feet over the next few days.
Rainfall totals are currently forecast to range from 8 to 15 inches, which could cause severe flooding along the storm surge. The island is also set to lose power for days after the storm.
Mawar is currently moving slowly, only 5 miles per hour. It is expected to continue toward the Northern Mariana Islands after hitting Guam.
The island is also an important strategic location for the US military and is home to Naval Base Guam, Andersen Air Force Base, and Marine Corps Camp Blaz.
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