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Philippines raises alert as Mangkhut nears

1 month ago, 14-Sep-2018


Strong winds buffet trees in Buguey, Cagayan, Philippines. Reuters photo

TUGUEGARAO, Philippines: The Philippines raised its storm warning yesterday and warned of major destruction, hours before Super Typhoon Mangkhut was due to make landfall with fierce winds and drenching rains.

Thousands have already fled their homes on the Philippines northern coastal tip ahead of the arrival of what forecasters have called the strongest typhoon yet this year.

Businesses and residents on Luzon island, which is home to millions, were boarding up windows and tying down roofs that could be sheared off by sustained winds of 205 kilometres per hour.

The Philippines state weather service raised a ‘signal four’ alert, the second-highest storm warning for winds of up to 220 kilometres per hour, for the Cagayan and northern Isabela coastal provinces.

Strong winds buffet trees in Aparri, Cagayan. Reuters photo

Both areas are squarely in the path of the massive storm, which is about 900 kilometres wide, as it roars east across the Pacific.

It is important for our countrymen to know that we have raised signal four, forecaster Loriedin de la Cruz said during a televised safety briefing.

A signal four alert was issued for Super Typhoon Haiyan, which is the countrys deadliest on record. It left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.

Residents watch as family members (left) secure the roof of their house before Mangkhut makes landfall in the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province.

Heavy rains and gusts were already hitting the far northeastern tip of Luzon yesterday evening from the storm that forecasters said is the most powerful of 2018.

Among all the typhoons this year, this one (Mangkhut) is the strongest, Japan Meteorological Agency forecaster Hiroshi Ishihara told AFP.

This is a violent typhoon. It has the strongest sustained wind (among the typhoons of this year), he added.

Farmers in the region, which produces a significant portion of the Philippines corn and rice, were rushing to bring in crops that could be destroyed by flooding.

At least four million people are directly in Mangkhuts path, which is predicted to move on to Chinas heavily populated southern coast this weekend.

A resident carries his belongings to a safer place while another runs as rains started to pour, with Typhoon Mangkhut approaching the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila. AFP photos

They (authorities) said this typhoon is twice as strong as the last typhoon, thats why we are terrified, Myrna Parallag, 53, told AFP after fleeing her home in the northern Philippines.

We learned our lesson last time. The water reached our roof, she said, referring to when her family rode out a typhoon at home in 2016.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

Poor communities reliant on fishing are some of the most vulnerable to fierce typhoon winds and the storm surges that pound the coast.

The rains will be strong and the winds are no joke … We may have a storm surge that could reach four storeys high, Michael Conag, a spokesman for local civil defence authorities, told AFP.

Hong Kong is also in Mangkhuts sights and preparations there were already underway yesterday, though the storm was not expected to hit until tomorrow.

The Hong Kong Observatory warned that the massive storm will bring significantly deteriorating weather to the city on Sunday and warned residents to take precautions.

Taiwans central weather bureau predicted that Mangkhut would be nearest to the island today, bringing heavy rains to its southern and eastern parts although it was unlikely to make a direct hit. AFP

Children play inside a classroom used as an evacuation centre as Typhoon Mangkhut approaches the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila.

 



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