Philippines braces for Super Typhoon Mawar

Manila, May 27 (EFE).- Philippines authorities on Saturday accelerated evacuation plans and the cancellation of flights as it braced for Super Typhoon Mawar.

In its latest bulletin at 11 am Saturday (03:00 GMT), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported that the eye of the typhoon, locally named Betty, was located 1,170 kilometers east of Central Luzon, with sustained winds of up to 195 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 240 kph.

“Super typhoon ‘Mawar’ has entered the PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility) and was named ‘Betty,’” Pagasa tweeted early in the morning.

It said Betty was expected to cause heavy rain and strong winds in the north of Luzon, the largest and most populous island and where capital Manila is located, and that it “maintains its strength while moving west-northwestward.”

“Betty is forecast to remain as a super typhoon over the weekend. Although it will likely maintain its strength for the next 36-48 hours, short-term intensification is not ruled out especially in the next 12 to 24 hours,” Pagasa added.

Among the areas that will be affected are provinces of the island of Luzon such as Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, as well as the far northern Batanes archipelago, although the period with the highest rainfall is expected between Monday morning and Tuesday morning.

Thereafter, Betty “may begin weakening considerably” and downgrade to a typhoon, adds the weather service.

However, it warned of landslides, flooding and rough seas.

Meanwhile, the authorities accelerated evacuation plans in the areas expected to be most affected and sought the cooperation of residents to reduce the possible effects.

In the northern province of Cagayan, where three days of strong winds and rain are expected, authorities were urging residents living in the sturdiest homes to take in others in an ‘adopt a neighbor’ campaign, according to the Philippine news outlet ABS-CBN.

Churches were allocated to shelter evacuees, while Cagayan identified 11 coastal areas prone to flooding, landslides and strong storms, it added.

Philippine Airlines announced Saturday that it has canceled around a dozen domestic flights in the coming days.

Betty is the second tropical cyclone to enter the Philippines this year, and the first super typhoon.

The archipelago expects up to 10 to enter its monitoring area this year due to El Niño.

The cyclone is heading for Philippines landfall after hitting the island of Guam, a US territory in the west Pacific, on Wednesday night, where it has left a trail of destruction despite no reported fatalities or serious injuries. EFE


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