First February typhoon since 2015 may threaten Guam, Northern Mariana Islands this week

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 18, 2019, 8:39:53 AM EST

The tropics in the western Pacific Ocean may activate this week with potential impacts on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands by this weekend.

While the western Pacific Ocean has been quiet since Tropical Storm Pabuk struck southern Thailand in early January, there are signs a new storm may form this week.

Latest indications point toward an area of disturbed weather organizing into a named tropical storm over the waters southeast of Guam by the middle of the week.

The next tropical storm in the western Pacific will be named Wutip.

W Pac 2/17

"Although it is hard to pinpoint details with a storm that has yet to develop, it is fair to say that this feature could have impacts on Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands the weekend of Feb. 23-24, or early in the following week," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Houk said.

"Those impacts could include damaging winds and flooding rain."

The most likely track of the storm will be near or to the south of Guam. It is then possible for the storm to turn to the north, or continue farther to the west into the Philippine Sea.

A northward turn would bring greater impacts to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Flooding rain, damaging winds, and power outages are all possible impacts to the region if this new tropical threat passes near or over the islands.

Seas will also turn dangerously rough around the storm as it strengthens.

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There is a potential that the storm can strengthen into a typhoon later this week.

There has not been a typhoon to roam the waters of the western Pacific Ocean during the month of February since Higos in 2015. Higos remained well to the east of Guam.

As AccuWeather meteorologists continue to monitor the developing storm and its future track, residents of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands are urged to review typhoon preparation checklists.

Download the free AccuWeather app to receive the latest tropical updates and how any storm can affect your community.

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