On Sunday, a typhoon strengthened as it reached the Philippines, displacing thousands of people in coastal areas on the main island of Luzon and causing the cancellation of dozens of flights.
Typhoon Noru increased to 195 kph (121 mph) with gusts up to 240 kph (149 mph), according to a state meteorological agency alert issued hours before the storm was predicted to make landfall.
“Coconut trees are swaying while banana plants have been brought down,” Angelique Bosque, the mayor of the Polillo Islands, told DZRH radio station.
The storm was likely to make a direct hit on the small islands just east of Luzon.
Waves whipped up by the category 3 typhoon were battering the islands’ main port and low-lying areas were flooded, Bosque said.
On Sunday, authorities began evacuating thousands of people from coastal areas on Luzon, where the capital, Manila, is located.
The mayor of Dingalan town, also on Luzon, told DZMM radio station communication lines were severed and the power was out in some communities.
President Ferdinand Marcos was in communication with cabinet members involved in preparations for the storm, the presidential palace said.
As it advances westward across rice-producing areas, Noru will bring heavy to torrential rainfall to the capital region and neighboring provinces. It is expected to appear over the South China Sea late Sunday or early Monday.
Authorities claimed that several ferry services had been halted, and that 30 domestic and international flights to and from Manila had been canceled.