The American island of Guam in the Pacific suffered in the night from Wednesday to Thursday the "destructive" gusts of Typhoon Mawar, which also caused flooding and extensive power outages.
Reached by telephone by AFP, the employee of a hotel on the coast described "the windows flying into pieces, the howling of the wind, the trees shattered net".
"The lobby is flooded with 30 centimeters of water," added Casey, who works at the Dusit Thani Guam Resort, which operates on a backup generator.
"I feel the walls shaking. The wind is very strong, I hear it whistling through the cracks in the doors."
While local residents are used to storms, "tourists are panicking about flooding in rooms caused by water streaming through destroyed windows," she said.
The most exposed populations have taken shelter in refuges at the call of the authorities.
The typhoon, a category 4 on a scale of 5, passed north of the island on Wednesday evening and was expected to lose strength through Thursday.
But destructive gusts of wind continued into the night, according to the US National Weather Service. Winds of up to 225 km/h have been recorded.
Lou Leon Guerrero, the governor of the island of 170,000 inhabitants located about 2,400 kilometers from the Philippine archipelago, had earlier called on the inhabitants to "take shelter immediately".
"I'm in a reinforced concrete house and my shutters are closed. I went out briefly but the winds are blowing with intermittent rain," Beckie Merrill, a 46-year-old teacher who found refuge in the city, told AFP. south of the island.
"I am concerned for the safety of our people. This is the most powerful storm in 20 years," Governor Guerrero warned.
The US weather service had warned of the "triple threat" of torrential rains, damaging winds and possibly deadly storm surges (sea level rises).
The arrival of the typhoon raised fears of potentially fatal coastal flooding phenomena in Rota, another American island in the Mariana Islands archipelago.
The Guam Power Authority, the electricity distribution company on the island, warned that it would wait for a drop in the intensity of the winds to begin operations to restore power, for safety.
Only a thousand homes, out of a total of 52,000, were still supplied with electricity, the company said.
Nearly 22,000 US service members and their families are based in Guam, an island that sees long-range bombers and nuclear attack submarines.
The island is also home to the United States' main reserves of fuel and ammunition in the Pacific. The tourist industry is important there.
At the Hyatt Regency Guam, guests endured the typhoon with philosophy. They were waiting in the lobby, explained to AFP Ryan Rodillon, an employee of the establishment.
“Many rooms are flooded, not because of broken windows but because water seeps in through the balconies,” he said.
About 60 flights departing from or arriving in Guam and scheduled between Tuesday and Thursday have been canceled, A.B. Won Pat International Airport said.
05/24/2023 17:51:35 - Los Angeles (AFP) - © 2023 AFP