Long recovery for Pacific islands after deadly Typhoon Yutu
Friday, October 26, 2018, 9:15 AM - Authorities in the Northern Mariana Islands called for urgent supplies and equipment on Friday and were preparing for weeks without power after being hit by their most powerful typhoon in half a century, killing one woman and causing widespread destruction.
Super Typhoon Yutu, which strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, saw sustained winds of over 280 km/h. Enough to pull down trees, hundreds of power poles and tear roofs from buildings as it trundled across Tininan, Saipan, and 13 other islands that make up the U.S. territory. Fallen power lines, wrecked offices and damaged vehicles, some overturned, littered streets by early Thursday.
On the island of Tinian, which took a direct hit from Yutu, the mayor asked for tools, machetes and chainsaws to help clear debris and urged residents to be patient and conserve fuel, food and water as emergency supplies had yet to arrive. According to the governor Ralph Torres, a 44-year-old woman taking shelter in an abandoned building died when it collapsed in the storm.
"This is an unfortunate incident," he said, adding that authorities were focusing on saving and preserving lives. "Our first responders remain vigilant and (are) working around the clock."
(Damaged cars are seen after Super Typhoon Yutu hit Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S., October 25, 2018 in this image taken from social media. Brad Ruszala via REUTERS)
THE FUTURE OF THIS BEAST, NORTH AMERICAN TIE?
The typhoon is currently moving towards northern Philippines and Taiwan with wind gusts of 220 km/h.
"The re-curving typhoon theory will also play an impact down the road to the North American weather if this storm does re-curve," says Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Yutu is the strongest storm on record to hit the remote island communities of Saipan and Tinian, the largest of the Mariana Islands, which is home to about 55,000 people. It is also now one of the strongest storms to ever hit a U.S. territory as well as one of the strongest tropical cyclones on the entire planet this year.
(An uprooted tree is seen along a road after Super Typhoon Yutu hit Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S., October 25, 2018 in this image taken from social media. Brad Ruszala via REUTERS)
"Up until September, Super Typhoon Mangkhut was the strongest cyclone on record for 2018, but it has a new rival in town," said Hamilton on Wednesday after watching the terrifying moments of the eye of the typhoon passing directly over Tinian Island. "If you extrapolate it out, this would theoretically be a Category 6 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale based on the astonishing sustained wind gusts of 290 km/h."
A LOOK AT THE TERRIFYING MOMENTS OF THIS HISTORICAL MONSTER TYPHOON
WATCH BELOW: DEVASTATION REVEALED WITH SUPER TYPHOON YUTU'S STRIKE
With files from Reuters, CNN