Today, Typhoon Mawar is barreling toward Guam threatening to slam into the US territory as the strongest storm there in decades.
The typhoon, which strengthened rapidly in recent days, is posing a “triple threat” of devastation including deadly winds equivalent to at least a Category 4 hurricane, exceptional storm surge and torrential rainfall, according to the National Weather Service office in Guam.
Mawar has been described as “one that will be remembered for decades,” said Landon Aydlett, the warning coordination meteorologist from the weather service in Guam. It is expected to strike the island today in the afternoon.
Using local time, Mawar’s center was 80 miles from Guam, and conditions were deteriorating quickly as the storm’s outer bands moved through the area and the core of the storm approached. Its maximum sustained winds were 140 mph from its previous rate of 155 mph which gave it super typhoon status (sustained winds of at least 150 mph). The storm is expected to remain very intense as it moves over Guam towards the west and northwest over the next several days.
If the typhoon does make direct landfall, the island would be thrashed with the storm’s strongest winds and highest storm surge. Mawar could be the strongest storm to directly impact Guam over its predecessors Typhoon Pamela (1976) with sustained winds 140 mph and Super Typhoon Karen (1962) with winds of 172 mph.
Storm surge fatalities are historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths within the United States, according to the National Weather Service. This level of storm surge will likely cause severe coastal erosion, floods, and property damage.
“Guam will see devastating impacts from Typhoon Mawa,r” says the NWS.