The world’s strongest storm this year made landfall in the eastern part of the Philippines on Sunday, bringing “catastrophic violent winds” as the country evacuated about 1 million people.
Super Typhoon Goni made landfall over Catanduanes early Sunday morning, and is expected to cross the southern Luzon and Metro Manila area from the afternoon before exiting land Monday.
“Within the next 12 hours, catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall” will hit Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, the northern portion of Sorsogon and the central and southern portions of Quezon, according to the 5 a.m. advisory. “This a particularly dangerous situation for these areas.”
Authorities will also shut Manila’s international airport to all flights for 24 hours from 10 a.m. local time Sunday as Goni approaches, the Manila International Airport Authority said on its website. The capital is also expected to face heavy to intense rain, according to the advisory for the storm.
Nearly 800,000 people have fled their homes in Albay province in the main Luzon island, while 200,000 more have been evacuated in nearby provinces, Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the Philippines’ disaster risk-monitoring agency said.
Categorized by the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center as a super typhoon while at sea, it’s now packing maximum sustained winds of 225 kilometers per hour (140 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 280 kilometers per hour.
The cyclone comes days after Typhoon Molave lashed the Southeast Asian nation, leaving at least 22 dead and causing a minimum of 1.81 billion pesos ($37.4 million) of damage to crops, before heading to Vietnam. Goni is tracking a similar route.
An average of 20 cyclones pass through disaster-prone Philippines every year, which will likely complicate the nation’s fight against the coronavirus as hundreds of thousands of people are evacuated from typhoon-hit areas.
Nearly three dozen areas, including Metro Manila, were placed on storm alert before the storm made landfall.
Coconut, rice and corn plantations may suffer severe losses. Typhoon Goni could damage more than 928,000 hectares of land planted with rice and 58,431 hectares of corn, the Department of Agriculture estimates.
The storm can have a “high humanitarian impact,” the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System said on its website, adding that nearly 50 million people are at risk.
Another typhoon, Atsani, is forecast to enter Philippine territory on Sunday but is less likely to bring severe weather over the next three days, according to the nation’s weather forecaster.
Goni is the world’s strongest typhoon this year with sustained winds of 285 kilometers per hour as of Friday, putting it at Category 5-equivalent strength and surpassing Hurricane Laura, which was Category 4 at its peak when it struck the U.S. in August, the Weather Network reported.
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