POSTED: 07:37 a.m. HST, Jul 14, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 09:24 a.m. HST, Jul 14, 2014
MANILA >> The Philippines braced for possible floods and landslides as a typhoon continued to strengthen on Monday as it approached the country's eastern seaboard.
Rammasun intensified into a typhoon from a tropical storm and was expected to make landfall Tuesday morning in Albay province, the government's weather bureau said.
Albay, about 212 miles southeast of Manila, is a disaster-prone province where mudslides from Mayon, the country's most active volcano, buried entire villages in 2006 and left about 1,600 people dead and missing.
Rammasun, locally named Glenda, was packing sustained winds of 73 miles per hour and gusts of up to 115 mph. It entered Philippine territory on Sunday.
Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the council's field offices in at least seven regions, including Metropolitan Manila, had been put on alert for landslides and flash floods.
"Our initial assessment is that there is not much on the wind. What we are wary about are landslides, flooding," Pama said.
Schools suspended classes Monday afternoon in some areas, including Manila, the capital. Local officials urged sea vessels not to sail in the storm's path, readied relief goods and prepared for the possible evacuation of residents, especially in flood- and landslide-prone areas.
Rammasun's impact is expected to be felt in metropolitan Manila starting Tuesday and will be over the capital by early Wednesday before moving into the South China Sea through either Bataan or Zambales province in the northwest, forecasters said. It is expected to be out of Philippine territory by Thursday, possibly moving toward southern China.
Central Philippine provinces have not yet fully recovered from the massive devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan last November. Haiyan's strong winds and tsunami-like storm surges flattened towns, leaving at least 6,300 people dead and more than 1,000 missing.