Filipino forecaster Meno Mendoza illustrates the path of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named “Typhoon Ompong” as it approaches the Philippines with sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph), at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, 12 September 2018. Philippine officials say they plan to evacuate thousands of villagers, shut down schools and offices and scramble to harvest rice and corn as the most powerful typhoon so far this year menacingly roars toward the country’s north. Photo: Aaron Favila / AP Photo

By Jim Gomez
12 September 2018

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – The most powerful typhoon to threaten the Philippines this year roared toward the country’s north on Wednesday, prompting officials to order precautionary evacuations and closures of schools and offices, and farmers to quickly harvest their crops to reduce damage.

Forecasters said Typhoon Mangkhut could hit northern Cagayan province on Saturday. It was 1,190 kilometers (738 miles) away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour).

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

With a massive rain band 900 kilometers (560 miles) wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the storm could bring “heavy to intense” rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, Mendoza said.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said by telephone that northern coastal and island villages in the typhoon’s projected path will begin evacuating residents on Thursday ahead of the expected onslaught. He said classes in schools would be suspended Thursday and offices, except those involved in rescue and relief work, would be advised to close on Friday. […]

Office of Civil Defense chief Ricardo Jalad said other northern provinces will also start evacuating residents from low-lying areas on Thursday.

“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. [more]

Philippines braces for most powerful typhoon this year

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