President Joe Biden endorsed an emergency declaration as an intensifying Super Typhoon Mawar approached Guam, where anyone not living in a concrete house was urged to seek safety elsewhere and shelter Contingency began to fill ahead of what could be the most powerful storm to hit the US Pacific. territory in two decades.
Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said on social media that the statement would support resource mobilization in Guam, which is “especially critical given our remoteness from the continental United States.” Guerrero ordered residents of coastal, low-lying and flood-prone areas of the territory of more than 150,000 people to evacuate to higher altitudes.
Federal assistance will be needed to save lives and property and “mitigate the effects of this impending disaster,” Guerrero said in a letter to the president calling for a “pre-landing emergency” for Guam. structures – many houses on the remote island are made of wood and tin – to consider moving.
With rain from the storm’s outer bands already falling in the territory, the National Weather Service said the storm had upgraded to a Category 4 “super typhoon,” meaning maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (241 km/ h) or more. Its center was about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of Guam Tuesday evening local time and moving north-northwest, according to the weather service.
The Weather Service said the storm was intensifying and warned of a “triple threat” of winds, torrential rains and potentially deadly storm surges over Guam. The weather service said the storm could hit southern Guam around noon Wednesday, or Tuesday evening in the continental United States. Guam lies west of the International Date Line and is a day ahead of the mainland and Hawaii, which is 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) to the east. Manila, Philippines, is 1,600 miles (1,575 kilometers) to the west.
If Guam doesn’t take a direct hit, it will be very close, said Patrick Doll, chief meteorologist with the weather service in Tiyan, Guam.
Guerrero urged residents in a YouTube post to remain calm and ordered the National Guard to help residents in low-lying areas evacuate as residents stocked up with water and generators.
“We are in the line of fire from Typhoon Mawar,” she said. “Act now, stay calm, get informed and stay safe.”
A storm surge of 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) above normal high tide was expected and could reach 15 feet (4 1/2 meters). The surf was expected to strengthen strongly over the next two days along the south and east facing reefs, with dangerous waves of 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7 1/2 meters) up to to Wednesday, the weather service said.
The storm is moving at just 5 mph (8 km/h) but has a 17 mile (27 kilometer) wide eye, which means people in the center of the typhoon could see calm conditions for more than three hours and conclude , way too soon, that the worst is over , said doll. As the eye departs, winds could rise to 150mph (241kph) in minutes, so people should stay sheltered until the government gives the go-ahead, he said declared.
“People can say, ‘Hey, it’s over, we could go out and start cleaning up,'” Doll said. “That’s totally wrong.”
Guam resident Albert Eliasson told KUAM News that he stocked up and made sure he had enough water to drink and flush.
“Just make sure we have things ready, from shutters to windows that need them,” he said.
Oshean Saralu told KUAM that he is also doing everything he can to prepare for a direct hit. “We usually pack everything for most of our stuff inside our garage and secure everything, especially the windows,” he told KUAM.
At grocery and hardware stores across the island on Monday, people left with shopping carts full of canned goods, cases of water and generators, the Pacific Daily News reported.
Rota, an island in the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, was also under a typhoon warning, Doll said. Tinian and Saipan in the Northern Marianas were under tropical storm warnings.
Some people in these areas are still in temporary shelters or tents after the Category 5 Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018, Doll noted.
“Guam takes a Category 4 or 5 hit every five to seven years. Mother Nature has spared us lately,” Doll said, adding that the last direct hit was in 2002. “So we’re way behind.
Typhoon season runs from July 1 to December 15 in the western North Pacific, according to the weather service.