Super Typhoon Yutu, the most powerful tropical cyclone on Earth in 2018, strikes the Northern Mariana Islands
Super Typhoon Yutu made landfall across Tinian and Saipan on Wednesday, dealing a catastrophic blow of damaging winds and torrential rainfall to both islands.
Yutu quickly strengthened from a tropical depression on Sunday into a super typhoon by Wednesday as it became the strongest tropical cyclone so far this year.
Yutu was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic or east Pacific basins at the time of landfall on Tinian, with maximum sustained winds of 290 km/h (180 mph).
This was the most intense storm to ever strike the Northern Mariana Islands, according to NASA.
#NOAA20 captured the moment the eye of Super Typhoon #Yutu passed directly over Tinian Island, one of three main islands of the Northern Mariana Islands and a U.S. commonwealth. More imagery: https://t.co/GIDRRoo6c0 pic.twitter.com/itZuR4INFp— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) October 24, 2018
The direct strike destroyed homes, snapped trees and power lines and caused roofs to collapse on Tinian and neighboring Saipan.
One person died and at least a dozen more were injured, according to The Guam Daily Post.
"Extensive damage to critical infrastructure on Saipan and Tinian has left the Commonwealth devastated with many families displaced," Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands’ delegate to U.S. Congress said in a press release.
“There’s a lot of damage and destruction,” Sablan told the AP. “It’s like a small war just passed through.”
“It’s going to take weeks probably to get electricity back to everybody,” he said.
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Guam Weather Center
The Tinian Medical Center sustained damage, but no patients were present during the storm, according to the AP.
"We need America’s prayers, and we need help, and I don’t doubt that we will get help," Sablan said. "Thank you, America, for always being there for us.”
After affecting Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, Yutu will continue on a west to northwest track into next week.
Yutu is forecast to maintain super typhoon status into this weekend and will remain a dangerous tropical cyclone as it approaches parts of Asia next week.
Areas from the Philippines to Japan should remain on alert for potential impacts from this dangerous tropical cyclone next week.
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