Typhoon Mawar is predicted to be the most powerful storm to approach Guam in decades, with the potential to intensify to a Category 5 storm. The last Category 5 storm to make a direct hit on Guam was Super Typhoon Karen in 1962.
In response to the approaching typhoon, the US military has relocated its ships, and President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration. Authorities have advised individuals residing in non-concrete structures to find safer accommodations in preparation for the storm.
As of Wednesday afternoon, many communities on the 549 square kilometer island have experienced power outages, and some areas to the south have lost access to water. Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has declared a state of emergency to mobilize resources and requested assistance from the US government to mitigate the impact of the typhoon on lives and property.
Residents living in coastal, low-lying, and flood-prone areas have been instructed to evacuate to higher ground. Guam’s crucial role as a strategic hub for US forces in the Pacific has prompted the evacuation of defense personnel and their dependents from affected areas.
The US Navy has moved all ships out to sea as a precautionary measure, while personnel remaining on the island have sought shelter. Approximately 6,800 US service members are stationed in Guam, according to the Pentagon.
With the typhoon’s outer bands already bringing rainfall to the island, Typhoon Mawar has sustained winds of 225kph, with gusts reaching up to 274kph. The storm’s center was located approximately 120km southeast of Guam on Wednesday and was moving in a north-northwest direction.