Typhoon Mawar hit the island of Guam Wednesday night. By Thursday morning, the Category 4 storm reached “super typhoon” windspeeds of 150 miles per hour. The aftermath left many residents without power and water.
Guam is a United States territory in the Pacific Ocean. Around 150,000 residents call the island home. It serves as a major hub for the United States military. About 6,800 U.S. service members are assigned there.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration as the typhoon approached. Local officials warned residents in coastal and low-lying areas to evacuate. Some islanders live in houses of wood and tin. Officials urged them to move to safer structures.
On Wednesday night, Typhoon Mawar made landfall. The wind flipped cars and pickup trucks. It tore branches from trees. It ripped walls and roofs from buildings. Rainwater flooded homes.
The storm created what the weather service calls a “triple threat.” That combines winds, torrential rains, and storm surge (suddenly rising sea levels).
During the storm, police fielded calls from people off-island who couldn’t reach local family members. But the officers couldn’t do much to respond. The typhoon had damaged emergency vehicles and blocked roads.
On Thursday, the tempest passed. Guam’s governor, Lou Leon Guerrero, declared an “all clear.” Sheltered residents emerged to an island that looked much different than it did the day before.
“We are waking up to a rather disturbing scene out there across Guam,” says meteorologist Landon Aydlett. “We’re looking out our door and what used to be a jungle looks like toothpicks.”
The storm caused a few minor injuries, but thankfully no deaths have been reported. Even so, much of Guam remains without power and other basic utilities. The U.S. Navy is sending an aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, and several other ships to provide aid. This support may not arrive for three or four more days.
Typhoon Mawar has left Guam. But the storm rages on. It may arrive in Taiwan next week.
We can pray for recovery in Guam and thank God for protecting its people. We can also ask Him to shield those who remain in the storm’s path.
And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?” — Matthew 8:27
(In Guam, Typhoon Mawar flipped cars and trucks. Chris Leavitt via AP)