The number three signal flag is flying in the Philippines, signifying an approaching typhoon.
Typhoon Kammuri, locally dubbed “Tisoy”, will barrel through southern Luzon and Mindoro on Monday night and into Tuesday.
Kammuri is still strengthening and is already bringing rain to the eastern islands of the central Philippines, an area known as the Bicol Peninsula, along with the island of Samar.
The city of Virac lies around a bay in the south of the island of Catandues and is vulnerable to the force of the expected 200km/h winds. Such a wind may build up a storm surge, a wall of water, possibly as high as three metres (10 feet).
Evacuations were ordered for low-lying parts of the island and the neighbouring Camarines Sur, a province in Bicol.
“Storm surge is catastrophic. Life-threatening and extensive inundation… Extreme damage to communities and … infrastructures,” The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
“Evacuation is enforced… All marine activities must be cancelled,” it added.
Northern Samar started to feel the effects of the onshore winds just after dusk. This was not one of the coastlines under storm surge warnings but with winds of nearly 200 km/h that force alone may be destructive.
Peak strength is forecast to occur late on Monday night. At that time, Kammuri will be almost over the top of the city of Legazpi with winds in excess of 200 km/h.
The eye of Kammuri will take about 24 hours to cross the Philippines, making at least four landfalls. It will likely cross Lubang Island in the west, as a Category 2 equivalent typhoon, as its last call.
The population exposed to winds of at least 120 km/h winds is estimated at about 10 million, rather more are exposed to heavy rain and violent thunderstorms.
Landslides are the usual risk in such conditions. Rainfall totals during the typhoon’s passage could be up to 420mm as far north as the Cagayan Valley in Luzon. More typically, 300mm is forecast.
The capital Manila will be in the northern half of the typhoon’s wind field. Gusts around 70km/h are possible with rainfall of about 100mm.
The Southeast Asian Games are taking place at the moment but contingency measures in case of weather disruption are planned.
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