LOS ANGELES—Typhoon Mawar was expected to pass directly over the US territory of Guam on Wednesday, bringing potentially catastrophic winds to the Pacific military outpost.
The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour (225 kilometers per hour), making it a dangerous Category Four typhoon, forecasters said.
Local authorities issued evacuation orders and opened temporary shelters, and US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency on the island of 170,000 people, paving the way for federal aid.
“I am in a concrete-reinforced house and my windows are shuttered. I did go outside briefly and winds are getting very gusty with intermittent rains,” Beckie Merrill, a 46-year-old middle school teacher, told AFP from a southern area of the island.
As of 1:31 pm Wednesday local time (0331 GMT), the storm was 45 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of the island, the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Guam said in an advisory.
“The current track of Mawar shows a high probability of the eye passing over Guam,” the NWS said, adding that conditions were gradually deteriorating across the island.
A flash flood warning had been issued for the island and winds of 74 miles per hour had already been recorded, forecasters said.
“I am worried for the safety of our people. This is the first storm of this magnitude for 20 years,” Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said.