Typhoon Saola is expected to strengthen as it approaches landfall in northern Philippines by Wednesday, before heading to southern Taiwan and Hong Kong.
(Bloomberg) — Typhoon Saola is expected to strengthen as it approaches landfall in northern Philippines by Wednesday, before heading to southern Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The Philippines has raised the third-highest wind signal over northeastern islands, warning of strong winds and power disruption, the state weather bureau Pagasa said in its latest bulletin at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. Taiwan issued a sea warning late Monday as the typhoon comes closer.
Saola is forecast to “re-intensify and may peak at near-super typhoon strength” by the time it passes or comes very close to the Philippines’ northernmost tip, according to Pagasa. The typhoon is on track to hit Hong Kong later this week, according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
On Monday, the Philippine weather bureau downgraded Saola from super-typhoon status, while warning it may pick up renewed strength. The typhoon has 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.
Saola will likely move northwestward and exit Philippine territory on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. It’s expected to weaken as it moves towards southeastern China near Hong Kong.
The Philippines is also monitoring another cyclone, Storm Haikui, that’s expected to enter its territory on Wednesday, but is “less likely to directly affect the country.”
In Taiwan, authorities suspended some boats operating from Pingtung from the afternoon of Aug. 30, though the weather bureau expects the eye of the typhoon to miss Taiwan.
People on the island are bracing for the storm’s approach, including by harvesting fruit before winds get too high, state-owned TaiwanPlus reported.
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 rains to other parts of the country.
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.
The Philippines experiences an average of 20 storms 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.
–With assistance from Sing Yee Ong, Ian Sayson, Cecilia Yap and Richard Frost.
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