Philippines braces for Typhoon Mangkhut

Typhoon Mangkhut to intensify into deadly Cat 5 storm, mammoth rains likely

Typhoon Mangkhut to intensify into deadly Cat 5 storm, mammoth rains likely

Although there are still uncertainties about its trajectory, it is expected that Mangkhut will bring adverse weather to the regions of Macau, Hong Kong and the coastal cities of southern China.

Mangkut has already caused widespread devastation when it torn through the Marshall Islands and Guam - American territories in the Pacific.

The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System said in total up to 43.3 million people could be affected by the storm in the Philippines and southern China.

Ompong is the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, expected to peak at gusts of up to 270 kilometers per hour on Thursday before easing to still unsafe velocities as it approaches land, state weather bureau PAGASA said.

As of Thursday morning, Mangkhut, was 1,510km off Elunabi, the southernmost tip of the island and had sustained wind speeds of up to 205km/h (127mph) with gusts as high as 255km/h.

Classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, Mangkhut accelerated while slightly weakening to maximum winds of 240 kilometers per hour compared with 250 kilometers per hour earlier on Thursday.

It was the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years and left at least 11 people reported dead and more than 600 injured, cutting off power supplies to more than a million homes.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. encouraged passengers travelling this weekend to and from Hong Kong to re-book and the airline will waive the fees.

The Hong Kong Observatory warned residents to prepare for the storm, saying it posed a "considerable threat".

With a massive rain band 900 kilometers (560 miles) wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the storm could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, state forecaster Meno Mendoza said. "This is more complicated because of possible storm surges", Mamba said on September 12. "Even moderate winds can topple their houses", regional civil defence official Dante Balao told AFP.

Super Typhoon Haiyan remains the Philippines' deadliest cyclone, leaving 7,350 people dead or missing in 2013.

A missile test aboard a navy ship to be attended by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte off northern Bataan province was cancelled due to the storm.

Hong Kong is also in Mangkhut's sights and preparations there were already underway, though the storm was not expected to hit until Sunday.

The storm approaches the Phillipines as hurricane Florence will make landfall on the south-east coast of the USA later this week.

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