Philippines hit by typhoon monster Mangkhut

Officials evacuate villagers as the category 5 storm is expected to hit speeds of 200 kilometers per hour.

Typhoon Mangkhut has made landfall on the northeast coast of the Philippines.

The typhoon made landfall before dawn in the coastal city of Baggao, in the province of Cagayan, on the northern tip of the island of Luzon, an agricultural region of rice plains and mountainous provinces often hit by landslides.

More than 5 million people are at risk from the storm, which Hawaii's Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorizes as a super typhoon with strong winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

A school became a temporary shelter in the city of Aparri.

AAP

There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties in the region, where a massive evacuation from high-risk areas has been ongoing for the past two days.

With a huge 900 km wide rain band, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could bring strong to intense rains that could trigger landslides and flash floods.

In almost all the provinces of the northern island of Luzon, including the capital, Manila, there have been storm warnings that restrict sea and air travel.

Mangkhut was tracked Friday night in the Pacific with sustained winds of 200 km / h and gusts of up to 250 km / h, according to meteorologists.

They said the fast-moving typhoon has gained speed as it moves northwest at 30 km / h.

Even if the typhoon weakens slightly after hitting land, its winds will remain very destructive, said government forecaster Rene Paciente.

"You can pick up cars, you can not stop, you can not even crawl against that wind," Paciente told reporters Friday night in Manila.

More than 15,000 people had been evacuated in the northern provinces on Friday afternoon, the Civil Defense Office said.

Concerns over massive storms that could be hit inland by typhoon winds led guards to relocate 143 detainees from a jail in the city of Aparri in Cagayan, authorities said.

The typhoon hit the beginning of the rice and corn harvest season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, prompting farmers to fight to save what they could from their crops, said Cagayan governor Manuel Mamba.

The threat to agriculture comes when the Philippines tries to cope with the rice shortage.

After the Philippines, the Hong Kong Observatory predicts that Mangkhut will land in the Chinese mainland early Monday south of Hong Kong and north of the island province of Hainan.

Although it is likely to weaken from a super typhoon to a severe typhoon, it will still be packing sustained winds of 175km / h, he said.

The observatory warned of rough seas and frequent heavy gusts, urging residents of the densely populated financial center to "take adequate precautions and pay close attention to the latest information" about the storm.

Philippine meteorologists said the changing typhoon could blow into Vietnam after it leaves late Saturday or early Sunday.

Typhoon Mangkhut

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