Typhoon Season in Guam
Typhoon season came back with a bang this past July. That “bang” was the sound of a few falling trees, but no major damage and no lives lost, thank goodness. The rest of 2018 is expected to have more typhoons than we did in 2016 or 2017, when favorable El Nina conditions kept the number of storms low, but meanwhile it’s just business as usual for Guam.
First, some terms:
- Tropical storm: A tropical cyclone with winds from 39 to 73 mph.
- Typhoon: A tropical cyclone with strong, pronounced winds in excess of 74 mph.
- Supertyphoon: A tropical cyclone with winds exceeding 149 mph.
We first felt Typhoon Maria on the Fourth of July 2018 when it brought heavy rain and strong winds to Guam (too bad for the fireworks), leading to some tree damage and power outages. Winds gusted to at least 72 mph at Andersen Air Force Base early July 5 (where a number of KC-135 tankers were damaged.)
“According to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Maria rapidly intensified from a 70-mph tropical storm to a Category 5 equivalent super typhoon with 160-mph winds in the 24-hour period ending 8 p.m. EDT July 5.
“While there are no direct measurements of tropical cyclone wind speeds in the western Pacific, this is one of the fastest tropical-storm-to-Category-5 intensification rates on record”, stated Weather.com.
Situated along what is affectionately known as “Typhoon Alley” (see image below), tropical storms and typhoons can happen at any time in Guam, but they are most likely between August and October. With today’s satellite imaging and accurate weather prediction, we normally have a good 3 days’ warning. Most warnings amount to nothing more than heavy showers, but Guam residents have learned to always be prepared.
And of course if any of our tours or shows are canceled due to a storm, we offer our guests the choice of a different date or a full refund, so you should never hesitate to book with BG Tours!
If you are on vacation in Guam when a storm warning occurs, here are some precautions you might want to take:
- First, this should go without saying but: don’t go swimming or boating!
- Be prepared to spend a few days inside. If a big storm hits, only essential personnel and emergency vehicles will be allowed outside.
Before the Storm:
- Fill Any Prescriptions
- Stock Up on Toiletries
- Go to the ATM & Get Cash for a Few Days (if electricity goes down, ATMs and credit cards won’t work)
- Charge Your Phone
- Fill Your Gas Tank (if applicable – we’ve already written that a car is unnecessary in Tumon)
- Plan to Stay Together, But Also Make a Plan In Case You Get Separated (cell towers could go down; internet may not work, etc.)
- Have Paper Copies of Contact Information for Your Travel-Mates & for Relatives or Doctors Back Home (& keep them on you & all members of your party at all times!)
Useful Things to Have:
- Battery- or Solar-Powered USB Charger for Phones
- Flashlights w/ Batteries
- Battery-Operated Radio
- First-Aid Kit, Whistle
- Extra Food & Water (always a good idea but a must if not in a hotel!)
- Moist Towelettes
And If You Have Kids:
- Baby Formula & Diapers
- Books, Games, Puzzles or Other Activities for Children
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