Guam – As of 1 p.m. Thursday, tropical storm Wutip had been upgraded to a typhoon.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Guam and the CNMI. Residents are urged to take precautionary measures as Wutip makes its way through the Marianas. Weather Service Chief Meteorologist Chip Guard said the system is building up in intensity.
“It’s moving toward the west about 280 degrees at 16 mph, so it’s slowly making that turn towards west northwest. Current intensity is 70 mph. Those are sustained winds. That’s an average wind we get all those peaks and lows, so it’s a sustained wind,” Guard said.
Guard said associated with that is peak gusts of about 90 mph and should the system continue to intensify.
“Wind shield averaging winds are stretching out about 180 miles southwest 150 miles northwest. Destructive winds [are] about 75 miles and once we get typhoon winds they will probably 25 or 30 miles,” Guard said.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday morning, the closest point of approach was expected to be midnight on Saturday.
“Because of the track, it’s going to sort of parallel the islands, so we are going to be in that distance for a long time. At about three o’clock in the morning all the way into Sunday evening, it looks like you’re going to see those tropical storm force winds at 35 mph,” Guard said.
The winds will be coming from the east, according to Guard. Then as the storm moves north the winds will slowly shift around toward the southeast.
“So you know Inarajan, Talafofo, Ipan — those areas Merizo are going to be the most susceptible. Coastal areas will feel the strongest winds, as well as the high elevations,” Guard said.
Acting Gov. Josh Tenorio urges the community to prepare now.
“Please use today and tomorrow to review your plans and stock up on emergency supplies to ensure your safety. While the storm is tracking south of Guam, we need to be prepared in case there is any northward shift of its current track, bringing damaging and even destructive winds to our area. Our office will continue to work with government of Guam, military and federal partners and we ask the community to make preparations at home as well,” Tenorio said.
Damaging winds are possible across the Marianas starting early Saturday morning. Residents are urged to stay up to date by checking the National Weather Service’s local statements.