Residents were urged to stay home until the island is declared safe for travel, as the Category 4 typhoon brought hurricane-force winds of at least 150 miles per hour and heavy rain to the US territory. The eye of the storm passed just north of Guam and, as of Thursday morning, no storm-related deaths had been reported.
The Biden administration preemptively declared a federal disaster emergency Tuesday, and although stronger building codes have helped reduce the extent of storm damage the island is still facing destruction. “As sunlight is starting to peek, we are waking up to a rather disturbing scene out there across Guam,” a meteorologist in Guam told the New York Times. “We are 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.”
There have been at least three other Category 5 super typhoons in this region over the past decade Hagibis (2019), Yutu (2018), and Soudelor (2015). The Pacific islands are increasingly threatened by rising seas, warming ocean temps, and other climate-related changes, including stronger tropical cyclones. (AP, The Hill, Grist, Axios, CNN, Washington Post $; Climate Signals: Typhoons)