Guam is getting slammed by a typhoon

This infrared satellite image from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center shows Typhoon Mawar as it approached Guam on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. Typhoon Mawar aimed its fury at the tiny U.S. territory of Guam on Wednesday as residents with nowhere to go hunkered down to face devastating winds and torrential rains from what was expected to be the worst storm to hit the Pacific island in decades. (Joint Typhoon Warning Center via AP) (Uncredited)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- – One region of U.S. territory is getting blitzed by a very serious typhoon.

Typhoon Mawar is directly hitting Guam in the Western Pacific, lashing the island with devastating winds, heavy rain and flooding.

Mawar’s impacts

The typhoon has been forecast for days to impact the U.S. territory, and a direct hit had been feared.

Mawar is a powerful typhoon, with winds of 140 mph, making the storm similar to a Category 4 hurricane.

The typhoon has been pounding the island over multiple hours, with winds and rain increasing throughout Wednesday (Guam is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time).

Satellite image of Mawar slamming Guam on Wednesday.

The eye of Mawar just missed the island, jogging to the north during an eyewall replacement cycle.

The southern eyewall did graze northern portions of the island, where the National Weather Service issued Extreme Wind Warning.

The NEXRAD Doppler radar has been inoperable for hours, and there are multiple reports the vast majority of the island is without electricity.

Mawar’s future

The powerful typhoon is expected to become even more powerful in the coming days.

As it exits Guam on Thursday, Mawar is expected to re-intensify and is forecast to become a Super Typhoon once again.

Mawar will continue to push west as a Super Typhoon.

The typhoon is forecast to have winds of 160 mph by Friday, making it equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.

The latest forecast track takes Mawar westbound into the far western Pacific north of the Philippines and near Taiwan.

Guam and typhoons

Guam has seen its share of typhoons throughout history, but direct strikes are somewhat rare.

According to the National Hurricane Center, 39 storms have passed within 200 miles of Guam.

Of those, 15 were classified as major hurricanes.

Guam has seen 39 storms pass within 200 miles of the island, but few have made a direct hit (Courtesy: NOAA/NHC)

Mawar is the closest a major hurricane status typhoon has gotten to Guam since Pongsona devastated the territory in 2002.

For comparison, 80 named storms have been within 200 miles of Jacksonville, with 23 being major hurricanes.

Mawar is a reminder that portions of United States territory besides the east coast are susceptible to major tropical systems, and it is likely Guam will need months, if not years, to recover.

About the Author:

David Heckard is The Weather Authority's Assistant Chief Meteorologist.