Thousands of typhoon-weary residents in the Philippines’ main island of Luzon fled their homes and sought shelter ahead of another typhoon, the fifth cyclone to hit in just one month.
Officials said on Wednesday.
Destructive winds and heavy rain were already pounding the provinces in the path of Typhoon Vamco, which was expected to make landfall either Wednesday night or Thursday morning, the weather bureau said.
The typhoon, locally called Ulysses, was packing maximum sustained winds of 125 kilometres per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 155 km/h as it barreled towards the country’s eastern coast at 20 km/h.
It “may reach its peak intensity of 130-155 km/h prior to landfall,’’ the weather bureau added.
“Ulysses may slightly weaken as it crosses mainland Luzon. However, it is likely to remain a typhoon throughout its traverse.’’
Typhoon warning signals were raised in over a dozen provinces in Luzon, the country’s most populous island which is home to the capital region of metro Manila.
Vamco will batter the same areas that have been slashed by three typhoons and a severe tropical storm since October.
More than 50 people were killed and over 3 million people were affected by the four previous cyclones.
Many of the affected areas still do not have electricity, and damaged houses and infrastructure were yet to be repaired, officials said.
The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 cyclones every year.
The strongest typhoon to hit the country was Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people and displaced over 4 million in November 2013.