Strongest typhoon this year closes in on north Philippines

Typhoon Mangkhut to intensify into deadly Cat 5 storm, mammoth rains likely

Last year, at least eight people died in Macau as a result of Typhoon Hato, the strongest storm to hit the city in over five decades, which also caused widespread flooding and damage to property.

Typhoon "Ompong" was seen 725 km east of Virac, Catanduanes on Thursday at 10 a.m with maximum sustained winds of 205 kph and gusts of 255 kph.

Mangkhut is expected to make landfall Saturday morning of 15 September.

Hurricane Florence is packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 120 miles per hour, while Mangkhut is packing maximum sustained winds of 135 miles per hour, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) and the NHC.

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On Guam, a United States territory, residents woke up on Tuesday to flooded streets, downed trees and widespread power outages after Mangkhut passed through overnight.

"We're anxious for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm", said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. "We are going to evacuate more".

We are preparing our emergency assets and relief items.

Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced over five million in the central Philippines in 2013. Mangkhut is forecast to move in the general direction of the Phillippine island of Luzon on Thursday and Friday, entering the South China Sea on Saturday.

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Poor communities reliant on fishing are some of the most vulnerable to fierce typhoon winds and the storm surge that pounds the coast. They are the ones greatly affected.

The storm's current path has it passing through the Lurzon Strait between the Philippines and southern Taiwan, before continuing on to Hong Kong and Macau.

Weather specialists are closely following the effects of Mangkhut in the northern Philippines region of Luzon as well as in Batanes, the Babuyan Islands, and the southern areas of Taiwan.

The Social Welfare Bureau president, Vong Yim Mui, speaking on the sidelines on the opening ceremony of the "Hato Education Sponsorship Fund", said that Macau is prepared for the upcoming typhoon and that all 16 shelters running under the Bureau's supervision "are already prepared and ready to enter into operation as soon as the government decides".

Florence becomes a hurricane; 2 other storms gain strength
The latest models on Saturday show that it's becoming less likely the storm will veer north and miss the mainland US entirely. The second week of September is the peak of hurricane season, so the flurry of activity is no surprise to forecasters.

With a massive raincloud band 900 kilometers (560 miles) wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, government forecasters said.

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