Philippines braces for most powerful typhoon this year

Philippines braces for most powerful typhoon this year

The state weather service said Mangkhut will be the strongest typhoon this year, peaking at gusts of up to 270 kilometres an hour on Thursday before easing to still-dangerous velocities as it approaches land.

Mangkhut was barreling across the Pacific Ocean with wind gusts of more than 250 kilometers an hour (155 mph).

Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced over five million in the central Philippines in 2013.

Medical and emergency response teams were on stand by, heavy equipment mobilised and more than 1.7 billion pesos ($31.45 million) of relief goods prepared as Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, edged towards the storm-prone nation on its way towards southern China and northern Vietnam.

Currently, Typhoon Mangkhut now has a wind speed of 170 kmph gusting up to 210 kmph near the eye of the storm as compared to the previous 160 kmph gusting to 195 kmph.

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Office of Civil Defense chief Ricardo Jalad added: "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".

The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System said the more than 27.3 million people will be exposed to the power of Mangkhut.

While it's possible Mangkhut may change course, the storm appears set to make landfall in or around the Pearl River Delta on either September 16 or 17.

"What's happening now is pre-emptive evacuation in certain areas", said Manuel Mamba, governor of the northeastern province of Cagayan, where schools and offices were closed and police, military and coastguard told to be ready.

A member of the Philippine air force stands in front of a satellite image of typhoon Mangkhut at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operations centre in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. The Philippines has been trying to cope with rice shortages.

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While Mangkhut is now stronger than Hato -- also known as Tropical Storm Isang -- or Haima it is likely to decrease in strength as it nears southern China, particularly if it crosses land over northern Luzon, which will slow the storm, according to Guy, the meteorologist.

Residents board up windows in Sta.

About 80 per cent of the USA territory was without power but it was restored by Thursday morning.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms a year.

More news: Hurricane Florence continues to strengthen

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