HAGATNA, Guam -- Powerful Typhoon Mawar smashed the U.S. territory of Guam and continued lashing the Pacific island with high winds and heavy rain Thursday, knocking down trees, walls and power lines and creating a powerful storm surge that threatened to wash out low-lying areas.
The typhoon, the strongest to hit the territory of roughly 150,000 people since 2002, briefly made landfall Wednesday night as a Category 4 storm at Andersen Air Force Base on the northern tip of the island, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Doll.
The storm strengthened to 150 mph (241 kph) winds the following morning, regaining its status as a super typhoon, according to the weather service. Mawar was forecast to intensify further.
As it churned slowly over the island, the typhoon flipped cars and ripped branches from trees. At what felt like its peak intensity Wednesday night, the winds screeched and howled like jets flying overhead and rainwater rushed into some homes.
Videos posted on social media showed fallen trees, an overturned pickup truck, solar panels flying through the air, parts of a hotel's exterior wall crumbling to the ground and exposing rebar, and storm surge and waves crashing through coastal reefs.
The early scope of the damage was difficult to ascertain, with power and internet failures making communication with the far-flung island difficult.