Storm signals have been raised in most parts of Luzon as super typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, moves closer to the Philippines.
At 2pm on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the super typhoon is 470 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora and moving west- northwest at a speed of 25 kilometers per hour, which is faster than the previous 20 km/h.
PAGASA said the typhoon continues to have maximum winds of 205 km/h and gusts of up to 255 km/h. The storm is expected to cross the coast in the Cagayan-Isabela area on the east of Luzon Island early on Saturday morning.
A Signal No. 3 alert has been raised in 12 areas – Isabela, Cagayan (including Babuyan Group of Islands), Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and northern part of Aurora.
Meanwhile, a Signal No. 2 warning has gone out in Batanes, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, southern Aurora and northern Zambalas.
A Signal No. 1 warning has gone out for Metro Manila, southern Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, Rizal, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon (including Polillo Island), the north of Occidental Mindoro (including Lubang island), northern Oriental Mindoro, Masbate, Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Burlas and Ticao Islands and Northern Samar.
Stormy weather is expected in areas where Signals No. 2 and 3 alerts have been raised, while occasional rain and gusty winds is expected in the capital Manila and other areas under Signal No. 1.
At least four million Filipinos who live in the storm’s expected path look likely to be affected by the storm.
Poor communities that heavily rely on fishing will be most vulnerable to Mangkhut (Ompong). Thousands have begun evacuated from homes and buildings in seaside areas of northern Luzon.