Hiding in her hotel room, Lauren Swaddle could hear the howling of the wind as Typhoon Mawar approached Guam.
“The storm is due in about two hours,” she said in a voice memo for NPR recorded Wednesday afternoon local time.
“I’m looking out my window and I see huge waves in a normally very calm bay. Trees are losing their branches. Coconut trees are blowing everywhere.”
“It’s so weird to me that it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon and it feels like it’s been a whole day… Time seems to be moving very slowly with this storm.”
At one point, Swaddle says she could feel the walls of the hotel shaking.
Swadell, 33, grew up in Guam and now works in Washington, D.C. She’s coming home for a work trip just as the Category 4 hurricane will pass over the island.
It brought 140 mph winds and 25-foot storm surge forecasts, causing power outages across the island. The storm is the most powerful to hit the US island territories in decades.
“This is my fourth major hurricane ever on Guam,” Swaddle said.
Typhoon Pongsona was the last major hurricane to hit the island – the Category 4 storm that devastated Guam in December 2002. Swadell said that experiencing Mawr was different for him.
“I was in middle school [in 2002], And I was still a child. So I didn’t know the level of responsibility and fear that an adult would have preparing for a hurricane, because my mom took care of all of that… my mom kept me safe,” she said.
This time, Swaddle was helping: “I went over to my mom’s house, helped her up the house.”
Guam is Flash flood warnings still in effectTherefore, it will take more time to fully assess the damage. But Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero told morning edition She knows of at least one rescue operation in which eight people were taken ashore.
“There is great anxiety to know the outcome of what will happen to the island around us,” said Amanda Shelton, a Democratic senator in the Guam legislature.
Shelton encountered a storm while on the northern part of the island. In a voice memo to NPR, she said she was grateful that President Joe Biden signed island emergency So request early – the island has both local and federal emergency responders ready.
“We have people on the ground ready to respond quickly if needed, as soon as it’s safe for us to go out after the storm has passed,” Shelton said.
She said that despite the concerns caused by the storm, she was pleased with the response from the community.
“I think it’s a positive thing to watch over the next several hours,” she said, before calling off the storm. “We are in this together, and we can pray together and wait out the storm together and help in any way we can.”
While waiting out the storm, the Hotel Swaddle was moving guests into a ballroom away from any windows. As the wind blew outside the building, the guests inside dined.
“There’s a bunch of people sharing drinks, playing games, and meeting each other for the first time and sharing stories,” she said.
“There’s the tension of it, but also the feeling that we’re all in this together. And there’s nothing you can really do except ride it out.”
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the storm was expected to move away from the island by Wednesday evening local time.
“Mavar is forecast to gradually intensify over the next few days, possibly becoming a super typhoon over the Philippine Sea west of the Marianas,” the NWS said.
Kat Lonsdorf contributed to this report.