The U.S. Pacific territory of Guam is under a state of emergency as Typhoon Mawar heads towards the small island as a potentially devastating storm.
The latest advisory from the National Weather Service says Mawar is headed towards Guam with maximum sustained winds of 225 kilometers an hour, making it a Category 4 storm on the five-tiered scale that measures a storm's potential destructiveness. Forecasters say typhoon force winds extend outward from Mawar's center up to 80 kilometers, with tropical storm force winds extending up to 225 kilometers.
Mawar - a Malaysian word that means "rose" - is expected to strengthen into a Category 5 storm as it makes landfall on Guam sometime Wednesday afternoon, which would make it a Super Typhoon. Guam and the nearby island of Rota are under a typhoon warning.
U.S. President Joe Biden has issued an emergency declaration for Guam, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief and "provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures."
Guam is a crucial hub for U.S. military forces in the Pacific. The Associated Press says Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson, the commander of Joint Region Marianas, has authorized the evacuation of defense personnel and their families from the island. The AP says all U.S. naval ships have moved out to sea as a standard precaution, and that any military personnel still on Guam are sheltering in place.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.