Super Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on Philippines

Lamar Ellis
September 13, 2018

Philippines officials have ordered evacuations and closed schools and offices as Typhoon Mangkhut neared, carrying sustained winds of more than 200km/h (125mph).

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

Officials of the state weather bureau - Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) - said in a livestreamed press conference on September 12 that the typhoon is seen to reach a peak intensity of 220 to 270 kilometers per hour (kph).

The violent Super Typhoon Mangkhut now has sustained winds of 130mph (200km/h) - the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane and the winds of Hurricane Florence which is racing towards the south-east coast of the US. Mangkhut has already passed over Guam where power outages and torrential wind and rain impacted the small island.

It can affect as many as 43.4 million people, according to the United Nation's Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

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.

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Classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, Mangkhut accelerated while slightly weakening to maximum winds of 240 kilometers per hour compared with 250 kilometers per hour earlier on Thursday. It was expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Tuesday morning.

As of Wednesday, Typhoon Mangkhut was carrying maximum sustained winds of 205km/h and gusts of up to 255km/h, according to the Philippine weather bureau.

The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year is also threatening farmlands in Northern Luzon just before the rice and corn harvest.

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, state forecaster Meno Mendoza said.

It could be felt strongest in the provinces of Cagayan and Batanes with an intensity of 205 to 255 kph. The remnants of the storm will still be in the area as Mangkhut arrives Sunday, bringing no relief to Hong Kongers from the weather.

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