The storm is being called the strongest storm of the 2018
Super Typhoon Yutu hit the Northern Mariana Islands in the west Pacific Ocean as a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of approximately 180 mph. Meteorologists have described the storm as the strongest storm of 2018 and one of the most intense hurricanes to hit the U.S. and its territories on record, as reported by NPR.
The North Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, received the brunt of the storm with storm surges up to 20 ft and rainfall up to 10 in. in areas. Waves of 25 to 40 ft were expected around the eye of the storm. Yutu also passed over the islands of Tinian and Saipan, bringing heavy rainfall and high winds. The storm reportedly tore roofs off of homes and led to power outages. According to NBC, nearly 200 federal emergency workers are in the Marianas to provide aid as the islands assesses the damage wrought by the storm.
“We’re surviving, we’ll get through this–we are a resilient people–but it’s just huge,” said Gregorio Kilili Camacho Salban, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands' delegate to U.S. Congress, to the Associated Press. “We need America’s prayers, and we need help, and I don’t doubt that we will get help. Thank you, America, for always being there for us.”
The storm now is moving northwest and may hit the Philippines or Taiwan. Super Typhoon Yutu comes just a few short weeks after Hurricane Michael hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, bringing high winds and flooding.