A severe tropical storm has gained strength as it moves closer to the Philippines and may intensify further into a typhoon, bringing moderate to heavy rains and blustery weather on Christmas Day, the biggest holiday in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, weather forecasters said Friday. Tropical Storm Nock-Ten was 790 kilometers (490 miles) east of Guiuan town in the eastern part of the country as of Friday morning, packing winds of up to 105 kilometers per hour (65 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 130 kph (80 mph).
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Landrico Dalida Jr., a deputy administrator of the government weather bureau, said Nock-Ten may intensify into a typhoon, with winds of at least 120 kph (75 mph), before it makes landfall late Sunday in the eastern part of the country. “Our Christmas will be rainy, with strong winds,” Dalida said. “So while we celebrate, let us also prepare,” he said.
Officials warned of possible landslides and flooding along the typhoon’s path, and storm surges in coastal areas that makes sea travel risky. Stormy weather can be expected starting Saturday evening, they said.
Nock-Ten is forecast to move northwest over northern provinces. It is expected to be over the country’s capital on Monday and to exit the Philippines by Wednesday.