The Latest: Yutu strongest storm to hit US this year

The Latest on Super Typhoon Yutu hitting the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (all times local):

Noon

The National Weather Service says Super Typhoon Yutu is the strongest storm to hit the United States this year.

Category 5 Yutu made a direct hit in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands early Thursday local time.

Meteorologist Brandon Aydlett says the weather service received reports Yutu's catastrophic winds ripped roofs from houses and blew out windows.

He says Yutu is the worst-case scenario, the kind of storm future storms will be compared to.

None of the weather service's equipment survived after recording 93 mph (150 kph) winds at Saipan airport. Aydlett says satellite-based estimates showed 180 mph (290 kph) winds.

The people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence but instead have closer links with the United States as a commonwealth.

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8 a.m.

Super Typhoon Yutu is crossing over the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands producing damaging winds, flooding and high surf.

The National Weather Service says maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 kph) were recorded around the eye of the storm, which passed over Tinian and Saipan early Thursday local time.

Forecasters say waves of 25 to 40 feet (6 to 12 meters) are expected around the eye of the storm and flooding is likely.

A typhoon warning is in effect for Saipan, Tinian and Rota and a tropical storm warning is in place for Guam and other southern islands.

A super typhoon would be the equivalent of a category 4 or 5 hurricane.

The Northern Marianas are about 3,800 miles (6,115 kilometers) west of Hawaii.