‘Will Be Remembered For Decades’: Super Typhoon Pummels Guam

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An extremely powerful typhoon has pummeled the U.S. territory of Guam, forcing residents to take shelter in what is believed to be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the island in decades.

Winds from Typhoon Mawar reached a staggering 140 mph with gusts up to 165mph, the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane, CNN reported. The eye of the storm passed over the northern part of the tiny island early Wednesday evening local time. The high winds and driving rains impacted nearly all of Guam Power Authority’s (GPA) circuits with all but 1,000 of the company’s 52,000 customers losing power in the storm, according to a Facebook statement from the authority posted at roughly 6 p.m. local time.

“As of 4:45 am today, GPA crews were secured and currently standing down for their safety as the high winds have made it unsafe to continue making repairs around the island,” the company said in a separate Facebook statement. “Repairs of the system will resume once high winds die down to a safe level, GPA will mobilize our teams to proceed with assessments and repairs.”

Meteorologists previously warned the storm would bring a “triple threat” of winds, heavy rains and dangerous storm surges, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Those warnings seemed to hold fast as warning coordination meteorologist Landon Aydlett told CNN the storm would be “one that will be remembered for decades.” (RELATED: ‘Complete Carnage’: Super Typhoon Leaves Hundred Dead In The Philippines)

As high winds began pummeling the island, Aydlett informed AP via phone that sensors to measure wind speed had been lost to the storm and the building he was sheltering in was vibrating. “We have the peak conditions going on for a couple more hours. I think thrashing is the word I would use,” he told the outlet. “There are trees everywhere at this point. Daylight tomorrow is really going to be a shock to a lot of people.”

Home to roughly 6,800 U.S. military personnel and their families, about one-third of the island is controlled by the Department of Defense. In preparation for the storm, defense personnel, their families and other employees were authorized to evacuate while U.S. Navy ships were taken out to sea as a precautionary measure, AP reported. Those remaining on the island were advised to shelter in place.

Officials have warned that in the aftermath of the storm, water and electricity may not be available for days or even weeks in some cases, the outlet reported.