Authorities in the Philippines began evacuations on Sunday as Super Typhoon Noru barrels towards the main island of Luzon.
Noru is set to be the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, sustaining wind speeds of up to 195 km/h (121 mph) after an unprecedented “explosive intensification,” according to the state weather forecaster.
The storm is expected to make landfall 80 kilometers (almost 50 miles) north of Manila, home to 13 million people, on Sunday night. It threatens to cause flash floods, landslides and tidal surges.
“We ask residents living in danger zones to adhere to calls for evacuation whenever necessary,” Philippine National Police chief General Rodolfo Azurin said.
Residents seek shelter
Residents in certain municipalities along the eastern seaboard have evacuated their homes and sought shelter as the storm nears. Ferries and fishing boats have also been barred from leaving port.
On Monday, schools in Manila and surrounding areas will be closed and non-essential services will be suspended.
“I asked our mayors to comply with strict preemptive evacuations,” Helen Tan, governor of the neighboring Quezon province, told the DZRH radio station.
The Philippine Coast Guard said more than 2,000 passengers have been left stranded by ferry cancellations due to the storm.
‘A good recipe for explosive intensification’
Noru comes nine months after another super typhoon devastated swaths of the country, killing more than 400 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.
Robb Gile, a forecaster at the state weather bureau PAGASA, said Noru’s rapid intensification as it neared land was “unprecedented.”
“Typhoons are like engines — you need a fuel and an exhaust to function,” Gile said.
“In the case of [Noru], it has a good fuel because it has plenty of warm waters along its track and then there is a good exhaust in the upper level of the atmosphere — so it’s a good recipe for explosive intensification.”
zc/wd (AFP, Reuters)
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