While meteorologists are busy tracking what could be direct hits from Hurricane Florence along the East Coast and Hurricane Olivia on Hawaii, they’re also tracking another tropical cyclone that could be the biggest of the bunch in the Pacific and threaten Guam with a catastrophic landfall. National Weather Service Meteorologist Landon Aydlett said the system marching toward Guam could be the worst one since 2002. “This weekend is the time we need to prepare for a possibly category 3 or category 4 storm. This could be our worst hit since 2002,” Aydlett said during a briefing.
“It’s been since Pongsona that we had we haven’t had a major hit. Typhoon Dolphin hit us back in May 2015. This one has the potential to be larger and more powerful than Typhoon Dolphin. So for a lot of on the island, we haven’t experienced anything of this magnitude,” said Aydlett.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center believes it could even be worse than that. In the latest forecast update, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts the typhoon to become a Category 5 super typhoon as it strikes Guam head-on in less than 5 days. Beyond Guam, it’s possible Saipan could also see devastating impacts.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) is a joint United States Navy – United States Air Force command located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The JTWC is responsible for the issuing of tropical cyclone warnings in the North-West Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean for all branches of the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies. Their warnings are intended for the protection of primarily military ships and aircraft as well as military installations jointly operated with other countries around the world. A different team, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, within the National Weather Service office in Honolulu, HI handles the forecasts and advisories for storms impacting the Aloha State.
“This system is still developing so there is still uncertainty as to its exact track and strength. What we can say is that we could get some wind and rain by Monday,” Guam Governor Eddie Calvo said. “Please have a safe weekend and God bless you all,” Calvo said at the conclusion of his storm remarks.
A team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is expected to arrive on Guam Saturday in advance of the storm, and residents were advised to begin preparations.
People with interests in Guam should continue to monitor evolving forecasts from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the National Weather Service and take steps to protect life and property from this potentially catastrophic storm.