Typhoon Mangkhut: Millions in Philippines braced for storm

13 September, 2018, 18:14 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Typhoon Mangkhut: Millions in Philippines braced for storm

MANILA-Moderate to heavy rains are expected in most parts of the country starting Wednesday (Sept. 12) as the strong typhoon with global name "Mangkhut" continues to gain strength and moves westward into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

The typhoon, named Ompong in the Philippines, will bring heavy rains and storm surges on its trail. It has already passed the US territory of Guam, where it caused widespread flooding and power outages.

Its sustained winds could strengthen to 220 kph (136 mph), or just below the super typhoon category, before making landfall, forecaster Meno Mendoza said.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said by telephone that evacuations of residents from risky coastal villages and island municipalities north of the rice-and corn-producing province of 1.2 million people have started and classes at all levels have been cancelled. The U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts top winds of 135 knots (155 miles per hour) with maximum gusts of 165 knots in the next three days. Government agencies were conducting damage assessments and beginning to clear roads, according to the Pacific Daily News.

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On Guam, the typhoon knocked down houses, power lines and trees, with around 88 per cent of the island having electricity by Thursday morning.

"I'm stressing that this one is very different".

Officials said other northern provinces started evacuating residents Thursday from high-risk areas, including in northern mountain provinces prone to landslides.

"The worst case are those areas which will be directly hit by strong winds that can topple houses, storm surges and heavy rains that can cause flooding, and there may be landslides in higher areas", Jalad told reporters.

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"We're anxious for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm, including those who have been displaced several times due to the monsoon rains last July and August".

President Rodrigo Duterte adjusted his schedule on Thursday so he can lead the command conference on the government's preparation for Typhoon Ompong.

Mangkhut, classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, is forecast to pack maximum winds of 230 kilometers per hour by Friday before gradually weakening.

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

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Meanwhile, the US east coast braces as Hurricane Florence barrels towards the Carolinas, expected to make landfall late September 14 or early September 15.

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