Typhoon Saola has intensified into a super typhoon northeast of the Philippines and will likely remain in that category until landfall in Taiwan, the Philippine national weather bureau said.
(Bloomberg) — Typhoon Saola has intensified into a super typhoon northeast of the Philippines and will likely remain in that category until landfall in Taiwan, the Philippine national weather bureau said.
Saola isn’t expected to make a Philippine landfall, but is forecast to veer round to the northwest and hit the southern Taiwan coastline on Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning, the bureau Pagasa said in an 11 a.m. advisory.
Eastern parts of the Philippine provinces of Cagayan and Isabela face possible flooding or landslides due to heavy rainfall and “moderate to significant threat to lives and properties due to strong winds,” Pagasa forecast earlier this morning. Sea voyages in northern parts of Quezon province have been temporarily suspended, the coast guard said.
Saola is affecting parts of main Luzon Island with a level 3 tropical cyclone warning in the eastern end of Isabela province, indication winds that can cause “heavy damage to high-risk structures” may be expected within 18 hours, the bureau said.
About 388 people were evacuated due to floods in four towns in Cagayan, Agence France Press reported, citing Ruelie Rapsing, a rescue official in the province.
Cagayan and Isabela were among the areas hit by super typhoon Doksuri in July. Half a million people were affected and 14 died. The storm destroyed more than 1.3 billion pesos ($23 billion) of agricultural crops and caused about 2.66 billion pesos of damage to infrastructure.
Saola is moving south southwestward slowly with maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour (115 mph) near the center and gusts of up to 230 kph, Pagasa said.
It is expected begin to loop over the Philippine Sea today and turn northeastward on Monday before shifting toward Taiwan on Tuesday. “Taiwan’s rugged terrain will weaken the super typhoon,” reducing its intensity to a “severe tropical storm or a minimal typhoon” before emerging over the Taiwan Strait, Pagasa said.
The Philippines has an average of 20 tropical cyclones a year, making it one of the world’s worst-hit countries, according to Pagasa. Saola is the seventh tropical cyclone to reach the country so far this year.
Saola has enhanced the Southwest Monsoon that will bring occassional or monsoon rains to other parts of the country over the next three days, Pagasa said.
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