Typhoon lashes Guam, but area escapes serious woes
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A Pacific typhoon lashed Guam and the Mariana islands Monday with strong winds and heavy rains, sending many on Guam seeking refuge in shelters, but the widespread islands appeared to have escaped serious problems from the storm.
Power outages and minor flooding were reported on some of the islands, but there was no immediate word of injuries or major damage.
The storm began churning through the scattered western Pacific islands before dawn Monday, leaving the region several hours later.
Guam and Saipan escaped the brunt of the storm, but the eye hit Rota — a 30-square-mile island with about 2,500 residents.
Tanya King, who was in Sinapalo, one of the population centers on Rota, said via Facebook messenger several hours after the storm moved off that there were no reports of any injuries or serious damage on her island.
“We reconned all villages,” said King, who described herself as a representative to the islands’ Public School System Board of Education. “There is no damage to any homes, the power is back on, the greatest damage was the uprooting of large trees, which is being cleared by the mayor’s crew.”
King, 60, said in an earlier message a few hours after the eye had passed, that she was still without electricity, it remained very windy, and there was minor flooding.
National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Ziobro said the storm’s eye wall, which packs the strongest winds, probably passed over the island.
The weather service said the typhoon had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
The weather service canceled a flash-flood watch for the islands around 8:30 a.m. Light to moderate rain was expected to continue for several hours, but flooding wasn’t expected.
Residents on Guam heeded warnings about high winds and flooding by taking shelter at designated public schools.
In the Hagatna area, there was some flooding in low-lying areas, but by early afternoon Monday the waters were receding and roads were passable.
Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Jenna Gaminde said there were no reports from Guam of injuries from the storm.
As conditions improved in the early afternoon, Guam officials shut down the island’s storm center and government agencies and many businesses began reopening, but public schools remained closed for the day.
The Guam International Airport resumed full operations with inbound and outbound flights.
Melissa Savares, the mayor of Dededo, Guam’s most populated village with more than 45,000 residents, said by phone some sought shelter in the schools.
Ed Propst, a manager of the Head Start Program in the island of Saipan’s public school system and a candidate for the islands’ House of Representatives, said branches, leaves and debris were scattered across his yard on Saipan early Monday morning. He told The Associated Press via Facebook messenger that he experienced several storms growing up in Saipan, but “I don’t think we have had one this strong in over a decade. Or at least it feels like it.”
Bohrer contributed to this report from Juneau, Alaska.