A new typhoon was born in the western Pacific this morning and the intensifying storm has its eyes on Guam for the Independence Day weekend.

Typhoon Chan-hom, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, is about 350 miles southeast of the U.S. territory and is heading to the northwest.  Guam may begin to experience impacts from Chan-Hom as  early as mid-morning on July 4 (local time) although the exact timing of storm impacts is uncertain.

Depending on its exact track, also uncertain, the typhoon’s closest approach to the island may occur at night on July 4 (local time).  It’s not out of the question the storm strikes Guam directly but a glancing blow scenario is also possible.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts the storm to strengthen to the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane when it’s closest to Guam, with maximum sustained winds of nearly 105 mph.

The National Weather Service has issued  a typhoon watch for Guam and the neighboring islands of Rota, Tinian and Saipan.

In Guam, the NWS has also declared the typhoon condition of “Readiness 3”, meaning destructive winds are possible within 48 hours. A storm surge of 2-4 feet on the island’s east side, dangerous surf, and 8-12 inches of rain are also possible, the NWS said.

After Chan-hom passes Guam, it is forecast to strengthen dramatically, reaching super typhoon intensity (maximum sustained winds of at least 150 mph) by next Tuesday.

Model projections simulate a monster storm – both in size and strength – in the middle of next week.

The European model projects wave heights in the vicinity of the storm exceeding 60 feet:

In the very long range – late next week (July 9-11), the storm could influence Okinawa and then eastern China.

The development of Chan-hom ends a 6-week typhoon drought in the central and western Pacific, which had its most active start to the typhoon season on record.  Three of the first four typhoons that developed, prior to June, achieved super typhoon status – around the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane.