SANTIAGO CITY, the Philippines, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) — Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall on Saturday in the town of Baggao in the northern Philippine Cagayan province, weather officials said.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the typhoon made landfall at 1:40 a.m.. The typhoon was packing sustained winds of 205 kilometer per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph when it smacked the province.
Strong winds are shaking trees and shattering windows a few hours before the the typhoon slammed the province, according to local media reports.
Days before the typhoon hit land, authorities urged residents in the direct path of the typhoon to evacuate especially those living in coastal communities warning the storm could bring intense rains that could trigger flash floods, landslides and waves as tall as two to three storey buildings.
Already, storm warnings were raised in 39 provinces across the Philippine main Luzon island, including Metro Manila, and some island off the island. On Friday, authorities said more than 15,300 people had been evacuated in the northern provinces.
“In the overall, damage to affected communities can be very heavy. The situation is potentially very destructive to the community,” PAGASA said in its 11 p.m. bulletin on Friday.
Over 4 million people in northern Luzon and outlying regions are vulnerable to the destructive effects of the typhoon, authorities said.
Forecasters said the southwest monsoon enhanced by the typhoon will bring gusty winds with occasional moderate to heavy rains over Visayas in the central Philippines, while scattered light to moderate to at times heavy rains over Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula, northern Mindanao in the southern Philippines and Cargo Administrative region in the northeastern section of Mindanao.
Residents in these areas, especially those living near river channels, in low-lying areas and in mountainous areas, are advised to take appropriate actions against possible flooding and landslides, coordinate with local disaster risk reduction and management offices, and to continue monitoring for updates.
Forecasters also warned of storm surge or waves that could climb up to six meters, especially on the coast of the provinces of Cagayan and Ilocos Norte. Isabela and Ilocos Sur could also experience a storm surge of up to two meters, forecasters said.
“Fisherfolks and those with small seacrafts are advised not to venture out over the seaboards of areas with (storm signals) and the seaboards of Visayas and of Mindanao,” PAGASA said.
More than 50 domestic and international flights were suspended hours before the landfall. Classes and work in government offices were also suspended.
The typhoon is predicted to exit the Philippines on Saturday afternoon toward the South China Sea.