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NOAA's post-Mawar assessment: Dededo, Yigo worst hit by May typhoon


Typhoon Mawar made landfall on Guam on May 24, causing island-wide destruction in its wake. Photo courtesy of U.S. FEMA/ Robert Barker

By Pacific Island Times News Staff


The northwestern area of Guam experienced the most extreme impact of Typhoon Mawar which battered the island in May, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


In an assessment report released Friday, NOAA said portions of Dededo and Yigo exhibited extensive damage on several wood and tin buildings as well as dwellings without reinforced concrete.


Mawar hit Guam on May 24 packing maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour.


"Villages in the north, closest to the center of Mawar, and thus its most intense winds, saw the most widespread and significant damage," NOAA said. "Maximum sustained winds decreased farther to the south, thus villages of central and southern Guam experienced lesser conditions– still typhoon-force–but less damage overall."


NOAA said the extent of damage in the far northwest suggests the presence of winds in the high Category 4, or super typhoon-equivalent, range.


Preliminary assessments conducted by the Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Development Services Division concluded that Guam farmers lost 90 percent to 100 percent of their crops as a result of Mawar.


A survey team from the National Weather Service-Guam toured the island for two weeks after Mawar to observe and categorize the general characteristics of the storm's impacts on Guam based on the damage and impacts to vegetation, structures and infrastructure.


"The determination of the wind over Guam was a challenge since most wind sensors failed, and because Guam has a complex terrain that modifies the actual flow, as it would be, were the island’s geography somewhat smoother," NOAA said. "Additionally, wind sensor data may appear not to be physically sound and may ultimately be found to be erroneous."


Given the challenges with equipment, weather specialists relied on the damage characteristics to vegetation, structures and infrastructure to determine the overall wind distribution across Guam.


"This assessment suggests that the extreme northwest part of Guam experienced some super typhoon-force sustained winds of 150 miles per hour as Mawar was intensifying and moving away from Guam," NOAA said.


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Meanwhile, the governor's office reminded residents of the looming deadline to apply for federal assistance. The registration deadline for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster assistance is July 27.


FEMA assistance may include grants to help homeowners and renters pay for:


  • Temporary housing for those displaced from their disaster-damaged primary homes.

  • Essential repairs to owner-occupied primary homes, including structural components such as foundation, exterior walls and roof, and interior areas such as ceiling and floors.

  • Replacement of personal property, including specialized tools for employment, household items, appliances, disability equipment (i.e., wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc.), and vehicle repair or replacement.

  • Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance, including medical, dental, moving, and child-care expenses and funeral and transportation expenses.

  • Typhoon Mawar survivors should register for assistance even if they have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but underinsured applicants may receive help after their claims have been settled.

  • If you haven’t applied for federal disaster assistance yet, please do so at disasterassistance.gov, by using the FEMA mobile app, by calling 800-621-3362 (The Helpline is available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week at no cost for Guam residents), or by stopping by a Disaster Recovery Center.



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