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

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

The Philippines is preparing for the most powerful storm to hit so far this year as Super Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on the islands.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut, an even more powerful storm than USA -bound Hurricane Florence, was heading Wednesday for the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

MANILA-Moderate to heavy rains are expected in most parts of the country starting Wednesday (Sept. 12) as the strong typhoon with worldwide name "Mangkhut" continues to gain strength and moves westward into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

Today's Typhoon Mangkhut, which is due to make landfall in the Phillipines on Saturday.

Schools were shuttered and some farmers took to their fields to start early harvest of corn and rice that could be ruined by flooding.

"The typhoon is threatening Northern Luzon and may traverse the Cagayan-Batanes area this Saturday".

Mangkhut was barreling across the Pacific Ocean with wind gusts of more than 250 kilometers an hour (155 mph). Mangkhut has already passed over Guam where power outages and torrential wind and rain impacted the small island. Government agencies were conducting damage assessments and clearing roads, according to the Pacific Daily News.

Office of Civil Defence chief Ricardo Jalad said other northern provinces would also start evacuating residents from low-lying areas on Thursday. About 80 per cent of the U.S. territory was without power but it was restored by Thursday morning. In the territory, frequent strong winds and showers could occur and serious floods could caused by storm surge in lower areas, ' the SMG told MNA.

President Rodrigo Duterte adjusted his schedule on Thursday so he can lead the command conference on the government's preparation for Typhoon Ompong.

Mangkhut, a Thai word for mangosteen, is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 a year and is considered one of the world's most disaster-prone countries.

Hong Kong had been bracing for a direct hit on September 12, but the typhoon warning was cancelled the morning of September 13, the Hong Kong Observatory announced, as forecasts tracked Mangkhut's path further south.

Meanwhile, the US east coast braces as Hurricane Florence barrels towards the Carolinas, expected to make landfall late September 14 or early September 15.

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

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