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Voice memos from the path of Typhoon Mawar


First, we turn to the island of Guam where Typhoon Mawar has been thundering through bringing heavy rain and winds of 140 mph.


Mawar is the strongest typhoon to hit Guam in decades, and it has knocked out power widely. The Guam Power Authority said in its latest Facebook update that only 2% of its 52,000 customers had electricity.

SUMMERS: As the storm bore down on the island, we asked a few people to send us voice memos, including Amanda Shelton.

AMANDA SHELTON: Hafa adai - that's hello from the island of Guam.

SUMMERS: Shelton is a local senator for the territory, and she spoke to us from a family member's home in the northern part of the island on higher ground than where she normally lives near the coast.

SHELTON: And as we look out, the trees are really starting to shake. The wind is picking up. There are a lot of leaves and debris flying around right now, but we feel pretty safe inside.

SUMMERS: She says emergency crews are standing by.

SHELTON: So we do have folks here on the ground ready to respond as soon as they are needed, as soon as it is safe for us to go out.

SHAPIRO: In another part of the island called Tumon Bay, 33-year-old Lauren Swaddell was also sending us messages with the wind hissing through her hotel windows.


LAUREN SWADDELL: I'm in my hotel room at the Westin. It's not even the worst of the storm yet.


SHAPIRO: She lives in D.C. now but grew up in Guam and was back visiting for work. She'd gone to see her family, too, and helped her mom board up her house before taking shelter back at the hotel.


SWADDELL: I'm looking out of my window, and I just see massive waves in what's normally a super calm bay. Trees are losing their branches. The coconut trees are flying everywhere.


SWADDELL: And my dog, who I have with me in my hotel room, is so scared and confused. He's never experienced anything like this before.

SUMMERS: Swaddell has, though. She says it's the fourth major typhoon she's experienced. As she was talking to us, a huge gust of wind hit the hotel.


SWADDELL: Wow. This wind is just so intense. It got so much stronger in the past, like, 10 seconds. I just saw some, like, giant tarp or something fly off a building.

SHAPIRO: Soon the hotel asked Swaddell and all the other guests to move into one of the main ballrooms for safety.


SWADDELL: We're being asked to go into this room because the windows in the rest of the hotel aren't doing so well. They're shaking. Some of the windows are leaking water. So we're all moving into this ballroom where the windows are shuttered and reinforced.

SHAPIRO: And then the music started.



SWADDELL: And this is the sound of us just making the best of it.

SUMMERS: It gets a little too loud for Swaddell to keep sending us voice memos. But she said the hotel turned one of the ballrooms into a little theater, playing Disney movies for kids.

SWADDELL: ...You know, meeting each other for the first time and sharing stories. And this is sort of what I love about typhoons. It really just brings people together in a way. There's the stress of it, but also there's the sense that we're all in this together. And, you know, there's nothing you can really do besides ride it out.

SHAPIRO: The typhoon is now slowly crawling across the Pacific away from Guam. But the National Weather Service still has a typhoon warning in effect.

SUMMERS: And as morning breaks on the island, residents and officials will start to get a clearer view of the damage from Typhoon Mawar. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.
Christopher Intagliata is an editor at All Things Considered, where he writes news and edits interviews with politicians, musicians, restaurant owners, scientists and many of the other voices heard on the air.
Kai McNamee
[Copyright 2024 NPR]