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Typhoon Hits Guam, Injures Three

December 16, 1997

AGANA, Guam (AP) _ Typhoon Paka hit northern Guam with 175 mph winds today, causing injuries and major damage, emergency workers said.

``We’ve got houses flying,″ John Myers of the Guam fire department said.

While unable to immediately pinpoint the number of wounded, Myers said all his department’s units were handling injury calls from the north of the Pacific island. No deaths were reported.

Earlier, before the storm passed directly over the northern tip, three people were reported injured when their houses collapsed on top of them.

The eye of the storm crossed over the northern tip of the island by 8 p.m. (5 a.m. EST), causing heavy damage and some flooding along low-lying coastal areas, said George Toves, spokesman for Guam Civil Defense.

``How bad it is, we won’t know until daybreak, when we can go out and make visual assessments. We’re just waiting for this one to pass.″ Toves said.

The storm reached the U.S. territory packing maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and gusts of more than 175 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Hundreds of people left their homes for emergency shelters in schools; some of the people who stayed behind had to be pulled from the wreckage when their houses fell upon them.

The island was without electricity, although phones were still in service.

Television signals from the island were shut down hours before the storm, and most of the radio stations on the island lost their ability to transmit.

Update hourly