Image People have been storm-proofing their houses ahead of the typhoon's arrival
15 September, 2018, 23:28
A Philippine official says three people have been killed after Typhoon Mangkhut pummeled the country's northern breadbasket with ferocious winds and rain that set off landslides, damaged an airport terminal and ripped off tin roofs.
The massive storm, which forecasters have called the strongest typhoon this year, blew in windows, hurled debris and knocked out power lines when it made landfall on the island of Luzon in the pre-dawn darkness.
Typhoon Mangkhut lashed the northern Philippines with destructive winds and heavy rain that set off landslides and destroyed homes on Saturday, leaving at least 12 people dead, as Hong Kong and other parts of southern China braced for the powerful storm.
Thousands of people fled their homes in high-risk areas ahead of the storm's arrival because of major flooding and landslide risks.
'It can lift cars, you can't stand, you can't even crawl against that wind, ' Paciente said.
"It has the strongest sustained wind (among the typhoons of this year)", he added.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, commander of North Luzon forces, said that around 2,000 troops had been deployed to help with evacuations and other preparations in Cagayan and Isabela, expected to be among the hardest-hit areas.
Two-hundred people who had taken shelter in a school were re-evacuated because a dyke holding back a swollen river was about to burst.
The Philippines endures about 20 typhoons and storms...
Here an elderly resident of the town of Aparri on the north coast of Luzon is seen during the high winds and rain.
It is the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in Cagayan province, where farmers have been scrambling to save what they can of their crops.
Mangkhut has a diameter of about 900 km (559 miles) and gathered pace as it reached the Philippines, but has since slowed, with wind speeds falling to 180 kph (112 mph).
According to GDACS, the storm formed over the northwestern Pacific Ocean last Friday and strengthened as it moved past the Mariana Islands and the USA territory of Guam. The threat to agriculture comes as the Philippines tries to cope with rice shortages.
Typhoon Mangkhut is on course to hit north-eastern Cagayan province early on Saturday.
The observatory warned of rough seas and frequent heavy squalls, urging residents of the densely populated financial hub to "take suitable precautions and pay close attention to the latest information" on the storm.
In the Philippines, authorities have evacuated about 56,000 people, disaster management agency head Ricardo Jalad told CNN on Saturday morning.
Saving lives was paramount and it was too soon to know the extent of Mangkhut's devastation, said Francis Tolentino, an adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and disaster response coordinator.
In the meantime, Duterte tasked Ilocanos in his Cabinet to go home to their provinces to monitor government response to Ompong, Roque said.
"My appeal is that we need to heed the advice of the authorities".
Typhoon Mangkhut is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines - and the most powerful in the world this year.