Philippines starts massive evacuations as huge typhoon nears

Typhoon Mangkhut to intensify into deadly Cat 5 storm, mammoth rains likely

Forecasters said Typhoon Mangkhut, considered as the strongest this year, could hit northern Cagayan province on Saturday.

Mangkhut, locally known as super typhoon Ompong, has already passed the USA territory of Guam, where it caused widespread flooding and power outages.

"Even further strengthening is expected with Mangkhut as it moves westward toward land", said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty, adding, "If sustained wind speeds of 220 km/h are reached, Mangkhut will not only be a super typhoon, but also equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific".

Senator Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Philippines Red Cross, said on Wednesday: "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".

Floods, landslides and huge waves could put millions at risk as Typhoon Mangkhut hurtles towards the Philippines and Hong Kong.

About 80 percent of the US territory was without power but it was restored by Thursday morning.

Tropical Storm Yagi and monsoon rains last month caused heavy flooding across central Luzon as well as parts of Manila, where an overflowing river swept away cars in one district.

On this topic, Philippines disaster agency Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said, "residents in coastal areas must be evacuated by Thursday [today], when heavy rains are expected".

2:15 p.m. update: Strengthening Florence causing rip currents, swells
The governor of SC on Sept. 10 said that mandatory evacuations will start at Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 12 p.m. local time. Preparations for Florence come as the Atlantic hurricane season hits its peak.

Schools and offices are being closed and farmers are racing to save crops.

The storm may damage as many as 156,793 metric tons of rough rice and 257,100 metric tons of corn in the Philippines worth as much as 13.5 billion pesos ($250 million), Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol wrote on his Facebook account Tuesday.

A missile test aboard a navy ship to be attended by President Rodrigo Duterte off northern Bataan province was canceled due to the approaching typhoon.

About 20 cyclones pass through the disaster-prone country each year.

It's expected to be 135 nautical miles (250 kilometers) off Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan on September 15 before heading to Hong Kong, according to the US agency.

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

The storm approaches the Phillipines as hurricane Florence will make landfall on the south-east coast of the United States later this week.

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