Super typhoon ‘Saola’ is expected to make landfall on the Philippines on Wednesday, having already drenched parts of the north with heavy rains, before heading to southern Taiwan and the coast of China.
(Bloomberg) — Super typhoon ‘Saola’ is expected to make landfall on the Philippines on Wednesday, having already drenched parts of the north with heavy rains, before heading to southern Taiwan and the coast of China.
The storm briefly weakened into a typhoon over the Philippine Sea and may lose more power in the next few hours due to the upwelling of cooler ocean waters and the onset of dry air “before re-intensifying as it turns northwestward,” the Philippine weather bureau, known as Pagasa, said in an advisory Monday.
“It may be upgraded again to super typhoon category by mid tomorrow,” Pagasa said, adding that it may pass close to the Philippine island province of Batanes at or near its peak intensity. Hong Kong has maintained its designation of the storm as a super typhoon.
Saola will likely move away from the Philippines Thursday morning or afternoon and cross the Taiwan Strait before making landfall over southeastern China on Friday evening or early Saturday, Pagasa said.
Though it’s days before the storm is expected to affect Taiwan, the island’s authorities are likely to issue a sea warning for the storm Monday night or Tuesday morning, and a land warning on Tuesday afternoon, the official Central News Agency reported, citing the Central Weather Bureau.
Authorities already decided to suspend some boats operating from Pingtung from the afternoon of Aug. 30, though the bureau expects the eye of the typhoon to miss Taiwan. The Hong Kong Observatory is forecasting the storm will move south of Taiwan before heading to China’s Guangdong province.
Over the weekend, the Philippine provinces of Isabela and eastern parts of Cagayan and Quirino experienced heavy rainfall. Saola enhanced the Southwest Monsoon, and is expected to bring occasional or monsoon rains to other parts of the country over the next three days.
Cagayan and Isabela, along with Ilocos Sur, 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 million) of agricultural crops and caused about 2.66 billion pesos of damage to infrastructure.
Saola is moving northward with maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers per hour (96.3 miles per hour) near the center and gusts of up to 190 kilometers per hour, Pagasa said in its evening bulletin. The eye is 260 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City in Cagayan.
Saola is forecast to turn generally northward or northeastward in the next 36 hours, then west northwestward on Wednesday afternoon toward the Bashi Channel and the vicinity of Batanes, with landfall not ruled out as it makes a close approach between Wednesday morning and evening, Pagasa said. It’s expected to reach southern parts of Taiwan Wednesday evening or early Thursday.
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.
(Updates with details.)
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