“What we are feeling right now is the eye going over the Rota Channel and the hardest of the winds of this typhoon is what we are experiencing, more so on the north,” she said, adding “I will be making an assessment of the devastation of our island as soon as it’s safe for me to go outside.”
Government personnel were still assessing damage.
A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Twitter that the agency had activated its coordination center to support Guam and the Mariana Islands.
The super typhoon was regaining strength and, according to forecast models, could head west toward the Philippines and Taiwan.
The storm was the strongest to hammer Guam in years and was expected to continue to generate tropical storm-force winds before weakening on Thursday, the Weather Service forecaster warned. The storm had moved 45 miles northwest of Guam as of 1 a.m. local time, but typhoon warnings were expected to be extended through much of the morning, the forecaster said.
The Guam Power Authority said that the island’s energy grid was providing power to only about 1,000 of its roughly 52,000 customers on Wednesday afternoon, and that it was too dangerous for repair crews to venture outside. It had not updated those figures as of Thursday morning in Guam.
The 150,000 or so people who live on Guam, an island nearly the size of Chicago that sits about 1,500 miles east of the Philippines, are used to tropical cyclones. The last big one, Super Typhoon Pongsona, came ashore in 2002 with the force of a Category 4 hurricane and caused more than $700 million in damage.
Stronger building codes and other advances have minimized damage and deaths from major storms on Guam in recent years. In most cases, “We just barbecue, chill, adapt” when a tropical cyclone blows through, said Wayne Chargualaf, 45, who works at the local government’s housing authority.