After hitting Guam with the force of a Category 4 hurricane, Typhoon Mawar continued to strengthen on Thursday night as it headed west across the Pacific Ocean toward the Philippines, Taiwan and, possibly, Japan.
Exactly where and when it might threaten people again was unclear.
As of about 8 p.m. local time, which is 14 hours ahead of Eastern time, the center of the storm was about 195 miles west-northwest of Guam. The storm was moving west-northwest at eight miles per hour and was expected to make a slight turn toward the west and increase in speed over the next 24 hours, forecasters said.
An area of high pressure over the Pacific will steer the storm west over the next several days. During that period over open water, Mawar’s strength will fluctuate.
With maximum sustained winds of 165 m.p.h., the storm now meets the National Weather Service’s definition of a super typhoon. The Philippines had already classified Mawar as a super typhoon, which it defines as having sustained winds of 115 m.p.h. The United States uses a different “averaging period” to measure a tropical cyclone’s wind speed, which typically produces higher readings. (Forecasters in the United States measure the wind for one minute to get a reading, compared with an interval of 10 minutes in much of Asia.)
Regardless, the storm was forecast to intensify over the next three days as it approached the Philippines, peaking on Sunday, according to a forecast on Thursday by the country’s meteorological service. It was also expected to bring heavy rain.
Because the Philippines gives its own names to typhoons that enter its so-called area of responsibility, a large area of the Western North Pacific, the storm will eventually be known locally as Betty.
It is likely to stay north of the Philippines, but some forecast models show it affecting the northern portion of Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island.
After the weekend, a handful of forecast models project Mawar turning to the north and then quickly to the northeast. Such a track could potentially keep the storm from affecting Taiwan, China or South Korea. Depending on the timing of other weather systems in the area, the storm could track further west, moving toward Taiwan, or northwest toward Japan.
Those developments wouldn’t come until late next week and into the following weekend, and a lot could change in the atmosphere within that time frame. As the storm moves north, toward or away from Japan, it is expected to weaken as it encounters cooler waters.
Mar-Vic Cagurangan, Claire Fahy, Christine Hauser, Mike Ives, Judson Jones, Victoria Kim, Lauren McCarthy, Eduardo Medina and Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.