People were ordered to evacuate the low-lying village areas on the east coast since a storm surge of six to ten feet above high tide. This would bring high waves directly over the sandy beaches into residential areas to many villages.
By 1900 winds were gusting to 70 knots in some portions of the island. Families were forced to leave their homes for more protection as chunks of roofing material were ripped from house tops and sent spiraling through the air to smash other homes.
Winds increased to 92 knots and still the full force of the typhoon's power had not reached the island.
Tug boats in Apra Harbor snapped their moorings as mountain seas pounded the hulls against dock-sides. Pier bulk-heads broke under the pressure, leaving exposed bolts to smash into thin-skinned harbor craft.
Wind-whipped storm surges rolled over reefs thundered ashore, smashed into homes and public buildings, and then retired back to the seas with a load of twisted sheet metal and fragments of wood.
Damage reports began trickling into headquarters of Commander Naval Forces Marianas as winds reached the 100-knot mark. Antennas began buckling, coconut palms snapped, exposed ridges were stripped of all vegetation, and whole homes were blasted by the explosive force of the wind.
At 2145 wind speed indicators at Fleet Weather Central/Joint Typhoon Warning Center bounced over the 135-knot mark as the men prepared to evacuate the building. Communications ground to the very minimum between military commands scattered along the islands entire 32 mile length. Transmission and receiving antennas were ripped loose by the powerful wind fingers of typhoon Karen and still the highest winds had not been reached.
Estimates of the possible number killed began to rise as reports of roof tops landing on the main roads were relayed to the headquarters building.
A report that the eye of the typhoon had passed over the Naval Air Station at 2210 proved false. The wind speed indicator at the station was touching 15 knots and then fell to zero. It was later determined that the wind instrument was torn from its mooring at that speed.
Rocks and bits of coral shattered hundreds of glass panels on the western side of the Naval Hospital.
Headquarters personnel learned that two firemen had attempted to cross the 100-yard open stretch of ground between Station Five and the headquarters building. It was five hours later that they were reported safe. They had started to leave the structure as whole sections of the roof were wrenched free, but just as they were about to leave the building began to collapse. They dived beneath a fire truck in time to prevent their being crushed. Later they worked their way into the relative safety of the cab of the truck.
Others were less fortunate. A pregnant Guamanian woman was crushed by the roof her home; three men were crushed by the buckling wall of a downtown business establishment. The building was just 30 yards from the water's edge and throughout the night was subjected to the pounding surf.
At first light the island resembled the hours immediately following the pre-invasion bombardment laid down by American forces in July, 1944. Comfortable villages were now a blasted, battered shambles. Sheets of corrugated metal, a popular roofing material, were everywhere. The metal was formed around trees, fire hydrants, across utility wires, over autos, and strewn across the terrain. Utility poles hung at fantastic angles, wires littered the roadways, eight inches of sand and coral covered Marine Drive in Agana. The heavily populated villages of Sinajana and Agana Heights were leveled.
Eighty percent of the Ship Repair Facility buildings suffered moderate to severe damage. BOQ's on Nimitz Hill were wrenched from their moorings and laid open. The expansive Navy Public Works Center suffered minor to major damage in most of their buildings. Officer and enlisted housing damage ranged from slight to severe. Wives told of a horror-filled night of erupting windows and flying debris.
Ninety-five percent of all civilian homes were destroyed, 9,000 people were left homeless, three ship were sunk, two tug boats and a huge floating crane were driven aground, and all Naval activities reported heavy losses.
One week after Karen's passing nine confirmed dead were counted as a direct result of her power.
Twenty-four hours had passed since the order went out to set "Typhoon Condition One." And the island had returned once more to "Typhoon Condition Four."