Strengthening typhoon Chan-hom in the Western Pacific Ocean is now forecast to strike Guam this 4th of July weekend, and hit Shanghai and Tokyo at the beginning of next week. The storm now officially ushers in the end of the calm and quiet six-week period in the Pacific.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), typhoon Chan-hom is strengthening as it moves west-southwest at 23 miles per hour. At 10:30 EST, the NOAA tracked Chan-hom to about 350 miles southeast of Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
Wind speeds at the base were registered at 13 miles per hour at 12:50 a.m. ChST. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a typhoon watch for the islands of Guam, Tinian, Rota, and Saipan. Residents should expect typhoon-like conditions, with winds upwards of 74 miles per hour. For the next 48 hours, people in the warning areas should expect heavy rainfall, large surf, dangerous storm surges, and flash flooding.
For Thursday afternoon, according to Andersen Air Force Base’s Joint Information Center, Guam is in Condition of Readiness 3, which means winds bringing severe damage will come within the next 48 hours. The U.S. military will be assisting some in the area to prepare for what may be a Category 2 or 3 typhoon by the time typhoon Chan-hom strikes Guam this 4th of July weekend.
Typhoon Chan-hom will be guided through the Western Pacific by upper-level high pressure to the north. The storm is forecast to head northwest and lose momentum by Friday.
Currently, winds speeds have crossed the Category 1 typhoon threshold of 74 miles per hour. Winds speeds should be expected to increase to 85 miles per hour by Friday morning, and steadily increasing to a potential 150 miles per hour by Tuesday morning. As typhoon Chan-hom passes over Guam and the Mariana Islands on Saturday night, wind speeds could be around 110 miles per hour.
Guam’s local NWS office has called for tropical storm-force winds as early as Saturday afternoon, continuing through the weekend. Winds will strengthen as night falls and the storm closes in on the island. Residents of Guam should exercise caution, as there is a possible two to four foot storm surge, and 10-15-foot surf by Friday evening, worsening to 17-22 feet by Saturday night.
Heavy rainfall is also forecast for Guam and the Mariana Islands. The NWS predicts that 12 inches of rainfall is possible in some areas through Sunday night.
The governor and Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar are advising those in Guam to prepare for typhoon Chan-hom. Residents should collect and store non-perishable food items, bottled water, radio, medication, and any other necessities needed for the next 48 hours, according to the statement released.
Heavy rainfall will also cause severe flash flooding in low-lying areas. Regions of higher altitude are vulnerable to mudslides and falling rocks. The NOAA and the NWS will continue to monitor the movement of typhoon Chan-hom as it sets to strike Guam 4th of July weekend.
By Alex Lemieux
Pacific Daily News: Typhoon watch in effect for Guam, CNMI
The Weather Channel: Typhoon Chan-hom: Guam Fourth of July Threat; Typhoon Watch Issued (FORECAST)
Photo Courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of Luke Ma’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License