Saola could make landfall in northern Philippines as super typhoon

Manila, Aug 29 (EFE).- Typhoon Saola threatens to fully hit the Batanes Islands in the extreme north of the Philippines as it gains strength until it becomes a super typhoon with wind gusts of more than 200 kmph, local authorities said Tuesday.

The country’s meteorological agency said in its forecast that the typhoon, about 180 kilometers east of the island of Luzon, diverted its course to the south and could hit Batanes Islands of about 19,000 inhabitants during the early hours of Wednesday.

Saola, with sustained winds of 155 kmph and gusts of up to 195kmph, gains strength on its way to the north of the archipelago, the report says.

The agency raised Tuesday the alert for strong winds to level three (out of a maximum of five) in the southern portion of the Batanes archipelago and to level two in the rest of Batanes, Babuyan and the northern section of Cagayan province.

Saola left behind strong winds and rain over the weekend as it passed closer to the east coast of the island of Luzon, before moving away, turning and heading north of the island again.

The National Council for Disaster Risk Management and Reduction said Tuesday that some 25,000 people had to leave their homes as a result of the impact of the natural phenomenon, which affected some 65,000 people, according to the latest provisional balance.

The typhoon also caused damage to infrastructure valued at about PHP41 million ($724,000.)

After leaving the Philippines, the typhoon will head, if it maintains its current course, toward southern Taiwan, where it is expected to pass near the southernmost part of the island but not make landfall.

The Philippines registers about 20 typhoons or tropical storms a year and was hit last month by Doksuri, which caused at least 25 deaths and a trail of destruction as it passed through the north of the archipelago. EFE


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