Typhoon Mawar Leaves Trail of Destruction in Guam – NBC Los Angeles

Many Guam residents were without power or utilities Thursday after Typhoon Mawar ripped through the remote US Pacific territory the night before, ripping roofs off homes, flipping vehicles and ripping trees apart.

Minor injuries but no deaths were reported, according to the governor’s office. Guam’s Office of Homeland Security Civil Defense announced Thursday night that Governor Lou Leon Guerrero returned the island to its typical typhoon-ready condition. Inspection and work teams were assessing damage to military installations, which are limited to essential personnel only, according to the Mariana Joint Region.

The central and northern parts of the island received more than 2 feet (60 centimeters) of rain as the eyewall passed. The island’s international airport was flooded and the swirling typhoon triggered a storm surge and waves that crashed against coastal reefs and inundated homes.

“We are waking up to a rather disturbing scene across Guam. We’re looking out our door and what used to be a jungle looks like toothpicks, looks like a scene from the movie ‘Twister,’ with trees blown away,” said Landon Aydlett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Most of Guam is dealing with a huge mess that will take weeks to clean up,” he added.

The strongest typhoon to hit the territory of some 150,000 people since 2002, Mawar made a brief landfall around 9 p.m. Wednesday as a Category 4 storm at Andersen Air Force Base on the northern tip of the island, officials said. from the weather service.

The extent of the damage was difficult to determine early on, as power and internet failures made communication on the remote island difficult. León Guerrero said in a video message Thursday morning that roads were passable, but residents should avoid driving and stay indoors due to high winds.

“We have weathered the storm,” said León Guerrero, adding that “the worst is over.”

The Guam Power Authority said crews were working to restore power to critical and priority facilities, such as a hospital, water wells and wastewater facilities. The Guam Water Works Authority was working to restore water service and had issued a notice advising customers to boil their water.

AB Won Pat Guam International Airport (GIAA) completed damage inspections with recovery efforts underway.

In coordination with the FAA’s Agana Air Traffic Control Tower, the airport has decided that it will accommodate humanitarian and cargo flights to Guam at this time.

As the typhoon inched over the island, it sent solar panels flying and collapsed part of the outer wall of a hotel, according to videos posted on social media. At what seemed their greatest intensity, the winds screeched and howled like jets, and water inundated some houses.

Leah del Mundo spent the night with her family in their concrete home in Chalan Pago, in central Guam. She told The Associated Press that they tried to sleep but were awakened “by the violent movement of the blinds from the typhoon and strong whistling winds.”

“Not our first rodeo,” he said via text message. “We have been through worse. But we prepare for cleanup, repairs and restoration afterwards.”

The winds tore off the roof of Enrique Baza’s mother’s house in Yona, allowing the water to damage the entire interior.

“My mom’s house didn’t escape,” he said, adding that his mother stayed with him in their concrete house during the storm.

He was driving a van looking for supplies to repair his mother’s roof, but most stores had no power and only accepted cash. Many wooden or tin houses he passed were battered or collapsed.

“It’s kind of a shock,” he said.

In Tumon, on Guam’s northeast coast, winds ripped a granite countertop from a hotel’s outdoor bar and hurled it into the air. Guests scrambled to stack chairs to prop up the doors, and the windows sagged and creaked.

“It was like a freight train going by outside,” said Thomas Wooley, who recounted wind and rain blowing through the aluminum shutters of his family’s concrete home overlooking Tumon Bay. When dawn broke, he found his outer china cabinet overturned and its contents smashed to the ground. A relative wielding a chainsaw helped clear fallen branches.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Wooley said. “It will take a few days to clean it up.”

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The Guam weather service office in Tiyan said it would close operations in the morning so workers can get home to families and assess damage to their homes. The counterparts in the Honolulu office took over their duties.

In a sign of how much help Guam might need, the Navy has ordered the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group to the island to aid the recovery effort, according to a US official. The Nimitz, along with the USS Bunker Hill, a cruiser, and the USS Wayne E. Meyer, a destroyer, were south of Japan and were expected to reach Guam in three to four days, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. to discuss ship movements that have not yet been made public.

Guam is about 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) west of Hawaii and 1,600 miles (1,575 kilometers) east of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

As of Thursday night, Mawar was centered 195 miles (314 kilometers) northwest of Guam and 210 miles (338 kilometers) west of Rota, Guam’s northern neighbor, and was moving west-northwest at 13 kph. (8 mph).

Power was also without power for all of Rota, Commonwealth Utilities Corp. said Wednesday night. The island has about 2,500 residents, according to the US Census Bureau.

The storm strengthened to winds of 165 mph (266 kph) on Thursday and regained its status as a super typhoon, according to the weather service. Mawar, a word meaning “pink” in Malay, is forecast to maintain this intensity for the next two days.

After moving away from Guam, the storm is expected to move generally northwestward over a large expanse of empty ocean for days, and could threaten Taiwan as early as next week.

Guam is a crucial hub for US forces in the Pacific, with some 6,800 service members assigned to the island, according to the Pentagon. Military officials evacuated personnel, dependents, and employees, sent ships out to sea, and removed aircraft from the island or secured them in protective hangars.


Kelleher reported from Honolulu. Contributing was AP science writer Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland, and Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor and Sarah Brumfield in Washington, Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu, Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska, Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles, and Ed Komenda in Seattle.