The islands of Chuuk, part of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), received a direct hit late on Sunday from Typhoon Maysak, and the Yap group of islands is next in the typhoon’s path.
Maysak hit Chuuk on March 29, with the eye five nautical miles north of Chuuk Lagoon, and winds of 130kph gusting to 160kph.
This would make a it category one typhoon, using the Saffir-Simpson scale.
“A lot of houses and roofs were blown away, and trees and telephone poles on the main road were blown down,” Kane Faylim, airport manager for Chuuk state government, said on Tuesday.
Robert Ruecho, the consul-general for FSM, who is based in Guam, said he had heard various casualty counts from Chuuk of one to five, but “cannot confirm anything right now”.
The National Weather Service in Guam issued a typhoon warning to Yap Island and said residents could experience winds of 120kph or higher from Typhoon Maysak early on Wednesday morning. Telephone calls to the island were not connecting.
To visitors’ eyes, Micronesia consists of beautiful coral islands with white beaches and palm trees, some of which are elevated only slightly above the turquoise Pacific.
Unfortunately, this makes the islands particularly vulnerable to typhoons. In addition to destructive winds and flooding rain, waves are built to mountainous heights.
Often worse still, within the eye of a typhoon, the ocean surface is lifted in a storm surge and an unstoppable dome of water can engulf an island.
The height of the surge is related to the category of the typhoon.
Mayzak is now called a super typhoon and is at category four to five. This would bring a storm surge of four to five metres.
At the moment, Yap is forecast to receive a glancing blow as Mayzak passes to the north. Winds may be restricted to gale force and the storm surge should stay away.
Source: Al Jazeera