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Typhoon Mawar tears through Guam, leaving most of island without power

Much of Guam was without power and running water after a typhoon packing ferocious winds and torrential rains battered the western Pacific island but caused no reported fatalities or serious injuries.

Residents in the US territory were ordered to boil their water until further notice as crews repaired generators damaged by Typhoon Mawar, according to local media and Guam’s water authority.

The typhoon’s 241km/h (150mph) winds downed power lines and trees, causing widespread power outages on the territory, one of the isolated Mariana Islands, about 4,000km east of the Philippines.

Crews were working to restore electricity, giving priority to critical infrastructure such as hospitals and wastewater facilities and then to homes and businesses, the Guam power authority said.

At last count on Wednesday afternoon, all but 1,000 of the island’s 52,000 homes and businesses were without power, the power company said.

Minor injuries were reported but none of the 170,000 people who live on Guam was killed badly injured. About 980 people were staying at shelters across the island, said Guam’s homeland security office.

The governor, Lou Leon Guerrero, declared the “all clear” on Thursday evening. “We have weathered this storm, the worst has gone by,” she said in a video message to the island’s residents, who include about 10,000 US military personnel based there.

Survey and work crews were assessing damage at military installations, which were limited to essential personnel only, according to the military’s Joint Region Marianas.

The central and northern parts of the island received more than 60cm of rain as the core of the storm passed. The international airport flooded and the swirling typhoon churned up a storm surge with waves that crashed through coastal reefs and flooded homes.

A meteorologist with the national weather service, Landon Aydlett, said in a briefing streamed online: “We’re looking out our door and what used to be a jungle looks like toothpicks – it looks like a scene from the movie Twister, with trees just thrashed apart.

“Most of Guam is dealing with a major mess that’s going to take weeks to clean up.”

Images posted on social media showed flooded streets, mangled trees and debris strewn across front yards.

The eye of Mawar, one the most powerful storms in decades to strike the island, tracked just north of Guam early on Thursday, moving north-west at a sluggish 8mph (13km/h), delivering rainfall of up to 2in (5cm) an hour overnight, the US weather service said.

Wind speeds placed the storm in category 4, the second-strongest designation on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, and just short of category 5. After passing the island and moving out to sea, the storm intensified to a super typhoon with wind speeds of 250km/h.

With Associated Press

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