The center of Category 5 Super Typhoon "Yutu" moved over the Northern Mariana Islands between 14:00 and 17:00 UTC on October 24, 2018, with maximum sustained winds of 290 km/h (180 mph) and gusts to 350 km/h (220 mph).
Although the region is reasonably prepared for typhoons and is built like a fortress, being located in the typhoon alley, this is the strongest storm on record to make landfall in the Northern Mariana Islands and 'their structures will be tested as this pushes right overhead,' Meteorologist Rober Speta of the WestPacWx said.
"Just imagine that this is an EF-2 or 3 type tornado that is 80 - 100 km (50 - 60 miles) wide... that's kind of what we're seeing with this storm system," he said.
"I just do a plea to the US government (these are US territories) that they do send relief swiftly because this is going to be some serious impact. About 48 000 people live in Saipan and even more in Guam."
Super Typhoon "Yutu" over Tinian and Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands at 15:20 UTC on October 24, 2018. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB, CIRA
Tinian and Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Credit: Google
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Credit: Google
Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands. Credit: Google
"The eye of Super Typhoon Yutu is now over Tinian and southern Saipan," NWS office in Guam said 16:09 UTC, October 24 (02:09 CHST, October 25). Maximum sustained winds in the eyewall are 290 km/h (180 mph) or stronger, making it a dangerous Category 5 Super Typhoon.
These winds will continue to affect Tinian and Saipan for the next few hours, the office said.
It's 05:50 CHST local time on October 25 at the time of press (19:50 UTC, October 24). More information about the impact to Tinian and Saipan will become available in the hours ahead.
Where exactly will Yutu end up after this is still hard to say:
Damage report can be found at the following link:
Featured image: Super Typhoon "Yutu" over Saipan and Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands at 15:20 UTC on October 24, 2018. Credit: JMA/Himawari-8, RAMMB/CIRA