In a little more than one day, the cyclone that became Super Typhoon Yutu grew from tropical storm to a Category 5 monster. Yutu is said to be the strongest storm on record to hit the Northern Mariana Islands, home to about 55,000 people. Thestorm made landfall on Wednesday evening (October 24), destroying homes, wreaking severe wind and storm-surge damage and flooding, and knocking out water, power, and telecommunications on the islands. Utilities could remain down for an extended period.
Before reaching the islands, Yutu’s sustained winds were reported to be 175 MPH. The storm is now tracking northwest toward the Philippines and Taiwan.
ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said that four ARRL HF/VHF Ham Aid kits in Guam are available for use in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a US territory. Another seven kits are positioned in Hawaii. Corey said that radio amateurs in Guam and Hawaii are attempting to get in touch with hams who can assist on Saipan, part of the CNMI. Amateur Radio teams that had planned to operate in the CQ World Wide DX SSB Contest from Saipan this weekend have cancelled their trips.