Evacuations start as Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on Philippines

Evacuations start as Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on Philippines

Evacuations start as Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on Philippines

Thousands of people will be evacuated as the most powerful typhoon so far this year roars towards the northern Philippines, officials said.

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 USA agency.

According to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, up to 43.3 million people may be affected by Mangkhut.

More than three million people live in northern Luzon, which is sparsely populated compared to other parts of the island. "According to the forecast track, it's going to maintain a super typhoon status for the rest of its journey to the South China Sea".

Super typhoon Mangkhut - expected to be the strongest typhoon this year - is rapidly gathering momentum in the Pacific as it heads towards populous Asian coasts. Mangkhut has already passed over Guam where power outages and torrential wind and rain impacted the small island.

Emergency workers have been deployed in the northern tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon, where Typhoon Mangkhut is expected to make landfall on Saturday.

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 today in metropolitan Manila, Philippines. He said classes would be suspended and offices, except those involved in rescue and relief work, had been advised to close on Friday.

While Mangkhut is not expected to cause similar destruction, Philippines authorities warned it could cause around $250 million in damages to rice and corn crops in the region.

A super typhoon in the Pacific is gaining even more strength and is forecast to barrel through the Philippines and Taiwan this week before heading to Hong Kong and south China. The storm was last situated 1,845 kilometers east of Southern Luzon. This is more complicated because of possible storm surges, " Mamba said.

The Observatory said it expected to issue the Strong Wind Signal, No. 3 around midday, a second-level warning. With more than 111 million residents, the most populous province of China will embrace the super typhoon on Sunday before it is expected to downgrade to a severe tropical storm next Monday.

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