Thursday July 25, 2024

Typhoon Mawar leaves Guam drenched in 'heavy rain'

Strong winds battered Guam, cutting the entire island's power and leaving hospitals to operate with help of a standby generator

By Web Desk
May 24, 2023
This video grab shows tropical storm force winds blowing across Tumon Bay, Guam on May 24, 2023. —  AFP
This video grab shows tropical storm force winds blowing across Tumon Bay, Guam on May 24, 2023. —  AFP

The eye of Typhoon Mawar has passed just north of Guam but, the eyewall has resulted in continuous strong winds and intense rainfall in the US territory, CNN reported.

The island is left seriously affected by "hurricane-force winds" resulting from the "strongest storm to impact Guam in decades".

According to The Guam International Airport, the island "sustained winds of 71 mph with a gust of 105 mph Wednesday evening."

An extreme wind warning was in effect for the northern part of Guam until 10:45pm (8:45am ET) for winds that "could create tornado-like damage", the report said.

The northern third of Guam, including the village of Yigo, is experiencing the strongest winds and heaviest rainfall as the storm moves northwest.

“Mawar is now moving away from Guam,” the National Weather Service in Guam said.

The power in most parts of the island is lost despite the centre of the storm’s eye having passed just north of the 30-mile-wide island.

At about 5pm, the storm’s maximum sustained winds were 140mph with gusts up to 165mph, the equivalent of a Category 4 Atlantic hurricane, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

“Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to an interior room or shelter NOW!,” the weather service in Guam warned Wednesday evening.

At around 6pm local time, Guam Power Authority’s post on Facebook said: "Nearly all of Guam Power Authority’s circuits have been impacted by the storm and only about 1,000 of its 52,000 customers still had electricity."

"Guam Memorial Hospital is currently operating on power from a standby generator," it added. 

The statement further said that the authority will begin to work on restoration as soon as the winds decreased to safer levels.

Previously, the weather service issued Wednesday a typhoon warning for the island along with flash flood and coastal flood warnings until Thursday morning.

In anticipation of catastrophic developments in the weather, Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero issued an executive order Tuesday mandating the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas.

“When sea levels rise, residents will have mere minutes to evacuate and respond. Thus, we must prepare now and anticipate the worst,” said a release from the governor’s office.