A POWERFUL typhoon has slammed into the northeastern Philippines and has left at least two people dead, knocked out power and isolated villages in floods and toppled trees.
Officials say Typhoon Karika, known locally as “Karen”, blew into Aurora province early Sunday and is barreling fast through heavily-populated agricultural provinces with sustained winds of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour and gusts of 220 kph (136 mph).
According to mayor Nelianto Bihasa in ABS-CBN news: “It was strong, stronger than previous typhoons. You can really say that this is not just a typical storm. The effects of the storm were really intense, we were just able to prepare beforehand.”
Typhoon #KarenPH: PAGASA 5 AM bulletin for Sunday, Oct 16.
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) October 15, 2016
The mayor also reported that as at 7.30am this morning, the town’s evacuation centers was providing shelter to some 1,049 residents.
Provincial safety officer Gerry Beo says a man drowned after being swept by strong river currents and a farmer died after his head hit the ground in fierce wind in eastern Catanduanes province.
Nearly 200 domestic and international flights have been canceled and thousands of passengers stranded in seaports after inter-island ferries were ordered not to venture out in rough seas.
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has estimated rainfall to be from moderate to heavy within the typhoon’s 500-kilmeter radius, ABS-CBN reported earlier.
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) October 16, 2016
The report said the Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) 3 was raised over Pangasinan, Northern Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, and Northern Quezon including Polillo Island, La Union, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
TCWS 2 was raised over Ilocos Sur, Southern Isabela, Mt Province, Ifugao, rest of Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Metro Manila, rest of Quezon and Camarines Norte, while TCWS 1 was raised over Ilocos Norte, Abra, Kalinga, rest of Isabela, Southern Apayao, Southern Cagayan, Oriental Mindoro, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Marinduque and Camarines Sur, it added.
— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) October 15, 2016
After making landfall, however, the typhoon weakened somewhat, prompting Pagasa to downgrade the storm warning in some areas.
According to Pagasa meteorologist Benison Estreja, of the 34 initial danger zones, only 27 remained under the warning signal.
He added that the typhoon is expected to leave the Philippines Monday morning, although another storm might follow.
The second typhoon named “Lawin” is expected to make landfall over northern Luzon, he was quoted saying.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press