Typhoon Mawar is on track to hit Guam by Wednesday with 200kmh winds

GUAM – Typhoon Mawar continued to strengthen in the Pacific on Tuesday as the authorities in Guam urged residents to prepare and remain out of the water.

A typhoon warning was in effect for Guam, a US territory, and Rota, a nearby island, the US National Weather Service said. Damaging winds were expected within the next 24 hours, through at least Wednesday night.

By Tuesday afternoon local time, satellite imagery showed a “well-defined” eye on Mawar, officials said, calling it a “powerful” Category 3 typhoon with sustained winds of 200kmh. The typhoon is moving north toward Guam, the weather service said.

The storm is expected to continue to strengthen and intensify, and forecasts project that it will reach Guam on Wednesday morning.

The biggest impacts of the storm will begin on Tuesday evening and peak in the overnight hours into Wednesday, said Mr Brandon Bukunt, a meteorologist with the weather service in Guam.

As the typhoon approaches the islands, its winds are “going to pick up”, said Mr Bukunt, and outer rain bands could bring heavy downpours, increasing the chances of flooding, including in Guam, which is home to Andersen Air Force Base.

The difference between a typhoon and a hurricane is based on geography. “Typhoon” is used for tropical cyclones that develop in the north-western Pacific and affect Asia. Elsewhere, they are called hurricanes.

“The system can do little wobbles, kind of like a snake going through the grass,” said Mr Patrick Doll, the lead meteorologist of the weather service.

“It may travel in a general direction, but you’re going to have a wiggle here and there. And the key will be, when does that wiggle occur and at what strength, which will determine if anyone takes a direct hit.”

The weather service issued a high surf advisory early on Monday, saying that large breaking waves of 2m to 3m are building as Mawar approaches.

Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson placed the island and its military bases on alert on Saturday for possible destructive winds, according to a statement from the base.

The statement added that “all military installations on Guam are currently securing facilities, and housing residents are urged to commence heavy-weather preparedness efforts”.

Typhoons can form year-round but are most common from May to October.

Mawar, a Malaysian name that means rose, is the second named storm in the West Pacific this season. The first, Tropical Storm Sanvu, weakened in less than two days. NYTIMES

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