Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Super Typhoon Forecast to Hit Philippines Saturday

Super Typhoon Forecast to Hit Philippines Saturday

Hong Kong was braced for Mangkhut, with authorities expected to raise the second strongest typhoon signal between 11 pm and 2 am (1500 and 1800 GMT).

Thousands of people fled their homes in high-risk areas ahead of the storm's arrival because of major flooding and landslide risks.

Expect "severe disruptions" at Hong Kong International Airport as Typhoon Mangkhut approaches the city this weekend, said Cathay Pacific in a travel advisory on Saturday (Sep 15).

More than 105,000 people had taken shelter in evacuation centers as the country beefed up planning after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 storm killed 6,000 people and left more than 4 million homeless.

Among the dead were an infant and a two-year-old child who died with their parents after the couple refused to immediately evacuate from their high-risk community in a mountain town in Nueva Vizcaya province, Tolentino said. Cars shook as wind gusts pummeled a parking lot.

Power and communications were down in parts of northern Luzon, where some residents in high-risk areas chose to ride out the storm to protect homes from looters.

Mangkhut was tracked on Friday about 400 kilometres away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 205 km/h and gusts of up to 255 km/h, Philippine forecasters said. They said the fast-moving typhoon has gained speed as it moves northwestward at 19 miles per hour.

The center said that the typhoon's winds are equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

"Every minute counts. Immediate evacuation should be to areas that are more than 10 meters above sea level, regardless of distance from the coastline", Malaya advised.

At least five roads and bridges in the north of the country are impassable following landslides, while gales shattered windows and collapsed the ceiling of an airport in Cagayan province.

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According to GDACS, the storm formed over the northwestern Pacific Ocean last Friday and strengthened as it moved past the Mariana Islands and the United States territory of Guam.

You can find all the latest images from Typhoon Mangkhut here as the storm hits today. "If it flattens everything, maybe we need to have some help", the president said.

More than 15,000 people had been evacuated in northern provinces by Friday afternoon, the Office of Civil Defence said.

Fears have been raised about the storm's possible effect on agriculture in Cagayan and Isabela, where the bulk of the Philippines' rice is grown.

In the Philippines, the government has issued tropical cyclone warnings for Mangkhut (known as Ompong locally) across sixteen provinces in Luzon and the Visayas Islands.

The super typhoon is 885 kilometers wide with maximum sustained winds up to 274 kilometers per hour.

Still, hotel staff in the Lan Kwai Fong area of central Hong Kong warned guests to charge phones and stock up on foodstuffs and water.

Guangdong, China's manufacturing hub, has set up 3,777 shelters, while more than 100,000 residents and tourists have been moved to safety or sent home.

Fujian province to the north of Guangdong is also closing beaches and tourist sites and preparing other measures depending on conditions, the agency reported.

As the storm leaves the Philippines this evening, attention will quickly turn to President Rodrigo Duterte's response to the disaster, including his government's reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.

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