Strongest typhoon this year closes in on north Philippines

Strongest typhoon this year closes in on north Philippines

Strongest typhoon this year closes in on north Philippines

Weather expert Daniel Wu (吳德榮) told CNA today that Super Typhoon Mangkhut is the strongest storm seen on the surface of the Earth this year, even surpassing Florence, which is a category 4 hurricane, in terms of power.

On Guam, a U.S. territory, residents woke up on Tuesday to flooded streets, downed trees and widespread power outages after Mangkhut passed through overnight.

The charity estimates three million people in the country live in the direct path of Mangkhut.

The government, however, said it would remain on high alert and would be prepared for any changes in direction. "According to the forecast track, it's going to maintain a super typhoon status for the rest of its journey to the South China Sea".

Emergency workers have been deployed to the north of the nation's main island of Luzon, where Mangkhut is expected to hit on Saturday.

It is now barreling across the Pacific Ocean with wind gusts of more than 178 mph an hour (287 kph).

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

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While Mangkhut is not expected to cause similar destruction, Philippines authorities warned it could cause around $250 million in damages to rice and corn crops in the region.

Hong Kong is also in Mangkhut's sights and preparations there were already underway, though the storm was not expected to hit until Sunday.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. encouraged passengers travelling this weekend to and from Hong Kong to re-book and the airline will waive the fees. The storm was last situated 1,845 kilometers east of Southern Luzon. 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.

"Hong Kong as of the forecast now will be on the right quadrant of the storm with the greatest impacts from wind, rain and storm surge along that coast line", he said.

The Observatory said it expected to issue the Strong Wind Signal, No. 3 around midday, a second-level warning.

According to several weather observatories reports, including the Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) and the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), the storm has a large circulation with intense winds and will pose a considerable threat to the coast of Guangdong.

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