Northern Luzon today braced for the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines, causing blackouts, landslides, flooding and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate to safer, higher grounds.
Since Sunday, the country has been on alert for strong winds and torrential rain caused by typhoon Labuyo (international codename Utor).
More than 8,000 passengers have been stranded in several ports in Luzon.
Most local government units in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon have suspended classes in all levels from pre-school to college, including government office work.
Reports said that at least 80 percent of infrastructure in Aurora province was destroyed including schools, roads and houses.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that 23 fishermen have been declared missing off Catanduanes and Camarines Norte.
At least 100 families near the banks of Magat River in Isabela were evacuated due to flooding.
More than 60 families living at City Camp lagoon in Baguio City have been evacuated to the Aguinaldo Elementary School.
According to the state weather bureau PAGASA, at 4:00 this morning, the eye of Typhoon Labuyo was located at 45 km of Casiguran, Aurora (16.2°N, 121.7°E) with maximum sustained winds of 165 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 200 kph. It is forecast to move West Northwest at 22 kph.
Storm warning signal number 3 is in effect over the following areas: Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Northern Aurora.
Storm warning signal number 2 is raised over: Calayan & Babuyan Islands, Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, the rest of Aurora.
Storm warning signal number 1 is raised: Batanes, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal, Northern Quezon including Polilio Island, Cavite, Laguna, Metro Manila
Typhoon Labuyo is expected to weaken as it crosses land, and will pass over Region 2, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and will exit in the general area of the Ilocos provinces towards the West Philippine Sea.
It is forecast to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Tuesday, August 13.
The latest typhoon is the 12th of about 20 storms and typhoons that pass the Philippines. Pagasa described Labuyo as the strongest so far this year.
photo by: Dino Balabo
satellite image: PAGASA
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