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

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

Millions of people are at risk from a strong typhoon set to smash into the northern Philippines this weekend - and potentially the southeast coast of China - which could bring floods, landslides and huge waves to the disaster-prone nation, rescue workers said Wednesday.

Once the Typhoon enters the vicinity of Philippines on Wednesday afternoon, "Mangkhut" will be named as "Ompong" locally.

After leaving the Philippines, the fast-moving storm is expected to blow toward Hong Kong and southern China on Sunday if it maintains its course, forecasters said.

Officials of the state weather bureau - Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) - said in a livestreamed press conference on September 12 that the typhoon is seen to reach a peak intensity of 220 to 270 kilometers per hour (kph).

Mangkhut was barreling across the Pacific Ocean with wind gusts of more than 250 kilometers an hour (155 mph).

Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon said: "We're anxious for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm".

The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System said the more than 27.3 million people will be exposed to the power of Mangkhut.

Mangkhut has already swept past the United States territory of Guam, in the western Pacific, where it caused flooding and power outages.

The Philippine Red Cross estimates three million Filipinos live in the direct path of Mangkhut, communications officer Mary Joy Evalarosa told AFP.

He also belied information circulating on social media that the typhoon could bring storm surges as high as 15 meters, saying there is no history of storm surges of that magnitude.

Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines in 2013.

Based on its 4 p.m. update, PAGASA said parts of the Bicol Region such as Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, and Sorsogon were already experiencing heavy rains with lightning and strong winds.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is predicting Mangkhut will leave "substantial damage" in its path. We are preparing our emergency assets and relief items.

"The worst case are those areas which will be directly hit by strong winds that can topple houses, storm surges and heavy rains that can cause flooding, and there may be landslides in higher areas", Jalad said.

According to Hong Kong Observatory, Mangkhut will enter the South China Sea on Saturday.

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