MANILA: Typhoon Yutu made landfall in northern Philippines on Tuesday and is forecast to travel on a path similar to the last month’s mega storm Mangkhut that killed at least 82 people and damaged about $500 million of farm output.
Yutu is packing winds of as much as 150 kilometres per hour with gusts reaching 210 kilometres per hour, according to the Philippine weather bureau. It made landfall in the province of Isabela at 4am local time (3am in Thailand) and will traverse Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet and La Union in northern Philippines before exiting.
At its peak, Yutu is tied with Super Typhoon Mangkhut as the world’s strongest storm this year. The storm is now forecast to weaken and turn northward to China’s coastline just north of Hong Kong later this week, the Hong Kong Observatory said.
The third-highest typhoon warning signal is up in 10 provinces in the Philippines while more than a dozen areas, including Metro Manila, were receiving lower signals. More than 1,200 people have been evacuated in Cagayan province and about 2,000 in Isabela by Monday evening, according to the disaster-monitoring agency.
Yutu’s winds knocked down trees and ripped off roofs and the ceiling of a mall in Santiago City in Isabela province, ABS-CBN News reported. Almost 11,600 people were in 92 evacuation centres, it said.
As many as 12 million people in 290 cities and towns in Luzon are along the storm’s path, said Edgar Posadas, spokesman for the Philippine disaster-monitoring agency.
Mangkhut, which killed at least 82 people in the Philippines and damaged about 26.7 billion pesos (16.6 billion baht) of the nation’s farm output, slammed into Cagayan province also in north Luzon, in September.
About 20 cyclones pass through disaster-prone Philippines each year. In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,300 people in the Southeast Asian nation. Yutu is the 18th tropical storm to hit the Philippines.
Almost 2,000 people are stranded in various ports, according to a Twitter post by the Philippine coastguard. The number is expected to rise as more Filipinos leave for their hometowns to visit their dead for the All Souls’ Day holiday on Friday.
Cebu Air Inc cancelled flights to the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Batanes, it said on Twitter. Some Air China Ltd, China Eastern Airlines Corp, Xiamen Air and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd flights from Manila were also cancelled, according to the Philippine airport authority.
Last month, Mangkhut hit the Philippines’ main island before striking Hong Kong. At their peak, both Mangkhut and Yutu had winds of 290 kph, making them the strongest in the world this