Hurricane Mawar hits Guam with winds of 140 miles per hour as ‘catastrophic’ storm

It could be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Guam in decades.

A powerful hurricane headed for Guam could be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit a U.S. island territory in decades.

As of 7:50 p.m. local time Wednesday (5:50 a.m. ET), Hurricane Mawar was near or near northern Guam with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour — equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. Mawar could make a rare landfall on Guam, marking the first time since 1976 that a Category 4 hurricane directly hit the island.

According to the previous forecast, Mawar was predicted to hit the island as a super typhoon, with sustained winds of 160 mph — the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.

Much of Guam remained without power as of Wednesday afternoon, with the island’s power grid providing power to only 1,000 of its roughly 52,000 customers, the Guam Power Authority said, due to Mawar’s “severe adverse conditions.”

“When the system was disconnected in two phases, we were able to avoid a complete blackout across the island,” the company said in a statement. “We are working hard to take care of the remaining customers through the storm, which should help us recover quickly after the winds die down tonight or early morning.”

The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane warning for the western U.S. territory of Guam, located in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean.

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Up to 20 inches of rain could accumulate on the island, while storm surges are forecast to reach up to 25 feet. Mawar had already generated waves as high as 45 feet in the ocean near Guam on Tuesday.

Guam’s Office of Civil Defense advised residents on Tuesday to evacuate immediately because Mawar “expects a direct impact or a very close path to Guam.”

“Guam has the potential for a catastrophic and catastrophic event,” the office said in a statement. Bulletin.

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero urged residents to stay safe Tuesday because “damaging winds” are expected to begin soon.

“Before we feel the full force of the super typhoon, please take all necessary precautions in plenty of safety,” Guerrero said in a social media post.

An emergency shelter in northern Guam has already reached capacity, according to the governor.

President Joe Biden A state of emergency has been declared He also ordered federal aid to support Guam and the hurricane response due to Mawar.

Mawar may have been one of the strongest hurricanes to hit Guam since the 1960s — the dawn of the satellite era.

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the most destructive hurricane to hit Guam was Karen in 1962, with sustained winds of 155 mph and gusts of at least 170 mph. Most of the houses on the island were destroyed.

Most recently, in 2002, Super Typhoon Pongsona had sustained winds of 144 mph and sustained gusts of 173 mph, causing $700 million in damage at the time, according to NOAA.

ABC News’ Ahmed Hemingway contributed to this report.

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