'Mangkhut' intensifies as it heads to PH

'Mangkhut' intensifies as it heads to PH

A super typhoon in the Pacific is gaining even more strength and is forecast to barrel through the Philippines and Taiwan this week before heading to Hong Kong and south China.

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

FULL ALERT status has been activated by various government agencies as typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut) entered the Philippine area Wednesday afternoon. The storm is expected to see some weakening as it enters Philippines but rainfall will be very heavy over these areas.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

"We are preparing our emergency assets and relief items".

Ompong's track threatens Metro Manila and most parts of northern Luzon, including the provinces of Bulacan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales.

The storm's current path has it passing through the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and southern Taiwan, before continuing on to Hong Kong and Macau.

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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).

The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year is threatening the farmlands in Northern Luzon just before the rice and corn harvest.

It's expected to be 135 nautical miles (250 kilometers) off Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan on September 15 before heading to Hong Kong, according to the US agency.

Before Mangkhut arrives, both Hong Kong and Macau will have to deal with the smaller Typhoon Barijat.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration is likely to put Tropical cyclone warning signal number one into effect at Cagayan Valley Region on Thursday evening.

Mangkhut has been predicted to be the strongest storm to ever hit Hong Kong since records began according to South China Morning Post, and is expected to bring heavy rain and chances of flooding to the harbour city on Sunday.

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