At least one person has died and tens of thousands have been evacuated as Typhoon Kammuri hits the Philippines’ main Luzon island.
Kammuri has continued to gain strength, now packing maximum winds of 108 miles per hour near the center and gusts of up to 149 mph, the nation’s weather bureau said today. The 20th storm to enter the Philippines this year is following a track similar to typhoon Rammasun in July 2014, which killed 106 people in the southeast Asian country and damaged properties worth $759 million.
More than 50 areas are on storm signal 3, the third-highest in a five-level warning system, as it made landfall in Sorsogon province late Monday. Under signal 3, wind of as much as 170 kph – strong enough to topple coconut trees and destroy rice and corn crops – may be expected in 18 hours.
Metro Manila and nearly a hundred other areas in Luzon and Visayas are under signal 2. Heavy rains and winds due to the typhoon are expected to be felt in the capital starting Tuesday morning, prompting class suspensions.
More than 217,000 people have fled their homes in Bicol, many of them staying in evacuation centers, authorities said.
The Manila airport will be shut from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesday in preparation for expected onslaught of Kammuri, the Transportation Department said. Philippine Airlines Inc., Cebu Air Inc. and AirAsia Group Bhd have suspended more than 380 flights, according to the airport authority’s Facebook page.
The storm can have a “high humanitarian impact,” the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System said on its website, putting a population of 9.6 million people at risk.
Kammuri is forecast to exit Philippine waters on Thursday, the weather bureau said.