Philippine officials plan to evacuate thousands of villagers, shut down schools and offices and scramble to harvest rice and corn as the most powerful typhoon so far this year menacingly roars toward the country’s north.
Typhooon Mangkhut, classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, is forecast to pack maximum winds of 260km/h.
Forecasters said Mangkhut, which was churning 1190km in the Pacific off the eastern Philippines with sustained winds of 205km/h and gusts of up to 255km/h could make landfall in northern Cagayan province on Saturday.
Forecaster Meno Mendoza says Mangkhut’s strong winds can topple huge trees and whip up storm surges while its rains could trigger landslides and floods.
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba says coastal villages will start evacuating residents on Thursday ahead of the onslaught.
Mangkhut is threatening farmlands in Luzon just before the rice and corn harvest. The staple grain is the second-biggest item in the Philippine consumer basket, and record prices boosted inflation to 6.4 per cent in August, the fastest pace since 2009.
© AP 2018