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Philippines: Typhoon Mangkhut makes landfall

PHILIPPINE forecasters say Typhoon Mangkhut has slammed into the country’s northeastern coast.

Witnesses say the storm’s ferocious winds and blinding rain ripped off tin roof sheets and knocked down power at the start of the onslaught.

Forecasters said early on Saturday that the typhoon made landfall in the coastal town of Baggao in Cagayan province nearly two hours after midnight in the northern tip of the main Luzon island.

media_cameraStrong winds and rain batter buildings and business establishments as Typhoon Mangkhut hits Tuguegarao city, Cagayan province, northeastern Philippines on Saturday. Picture: AP

It is an agricultural region of flood- prone rice plains and mountain provinces often hit by landslides.

More than five million people are at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorises as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

A day earlier, Philippine authorities were evacuating thousands of people from the path of the most powerful typhoon this year, closing schools, readying bulldozers for landslides and placing rescuers and troops on full alert in the country’s north.

media_cameraResidents evacuate to safer grounds as Typhoon Mangkhut approaches on September 14, 2018 in Tuguegarao city, northern Philippines. Picture: Jes Aznar/Getty Images

More than four million people live in areas at most risk from the storm, which the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii categorised as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane. Typhoon Mangkhut is on course to hit northeastern Cagayan province early Saturday.

It was tracked on Friday about 400 kilometres away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 205 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 255 kph, Philippine forecasters said.

With a massive rain cloud band 900 kilometres wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, the forecasters said.

Storm warnings have been raised in 25 provinces across the main northern island of Luzon, restricting sea and air travel.

Originally published as Typhoon makes landfall in Philippines

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