When Typhoon Mawar hit, these identical twin meteorologists kept Guam informed

HONOLULU — As Typhoon Mawar aimed its fury at Guam, residents facing terrifying winds and breaking waves from the strongest typhoon to hit the US Pacific territory in decades had identical twin meteorologists to keep them informed and provide the world with Outside at a glance Chaos unfolds on the remote island.

The Guam office of the National Weather Service employs Landon Aydlett as their alert coordination meteorologist. His brother Brandon Aydlett is the science and operations officer.

Together, the 41-year-olds joined Facebook live streams watched by thousands as Typhoon Mawar approached with maximum sustained winds of 225 kph (140 mph), wreaking havoc as residents lost power, internet and water service.

Their colorful descriptions of the Category 4 storm painted a picture as they both took turns describing toothpick-split trees, high winds, nearly 2 feet of torrential rain, and “whiteout conditions” outside the office. where they took refuge with other colleagues. for almost 48 hours.

“Reassure your children. It’s going to be a little scary as we go into the night,” Brandon Aydlett said in a Facebook Live update as the island was in the midst of the typhoon on Wednesday. “You can hear the sounds: the winds howl, things break. Just be together, talk to each other, and things will slow down around midnight and continue through Thursday morning.”

Earlier, his brother explained to viewers of another live update that the weather was about to take a turn for the worse.

“We’re starting to hear the thumping in the building here at the National Weather Service,” Landon Aydlett said. “Our doors are shaking. We hear little hisses through the windows, little creaks at the doors. We are getting those effects here as we get closer to typhoon force conditions.”

He told The Associated Press in a brief phone interview Thursday morning local time that working with his brother is like working with his best friend. They never planned to work together, she said.

“But the jobs fell into our hands, and we followed our heart and our passion for the job,” Aydlett said. “And somehow we both ended up in Guam.”

The brothers are from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, a small farming town on the Outer Banks about an hour south of Norfolk, Virginia. Brandon Aydlett first came to Guam more than 13 years ago, and his brother arrived half a year later.

The brothers like to hike and paddleboard. Brandon Aydlett enjoys running. Landon Aydlett, who at Thursday’s final briefing wore a necklace of tiny white shells given to him after the 2018 typhoon, prefers to lift weights. Last year they broke two Guinness World Records by building the world’s tallest and largest wooden toy tower as part of a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser. The “Tower for Humanity” raised $20,000 for the Guam chapter of the charity.

Landon Aydlett said he has heard of spouses working together at National Weather Service offices, but never of other twins.

Guam is an island of about 150,000 people about 3,900 miles (6,275 kilometers) west of Hawaii and 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers) east of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

The weather service office issues forecasts for Guam, as well as several islands to the north — Saipan, Tinian and Rota — that are part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, another US territory. The Guam office also provides weather forecasts for the nearby Pacific independent island nations of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau.

On Thursday, in their last live update as the storm began to abate, they continued to pass the reporting baton back and forth. It would be their last update from Guam, Landon Aydlett said, after nearly 48 hours together at the forecast office.

“I don’t know what my house looks like right now,” he said. “I will find out very soon, but we will get through this together. We are one Guam. We are a Marian. Stay protected and safe.”