Typhoon Melor batters Philippines

The central section of the country has been hit by damaging winds, huge waves and torrential rain.

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    Melor made landfall over the northern tip of the island of Samar after undergoing a rapid intensification [EPA]
    Melor made landfall over the northern tip of the island of Samar after undergoing a rapid intensification [EPA]

    Typhoon Melor has hit the central Philippines, bringing winds of up to 220kph, intense rainfall and mountainous seas.

    Melor, known locally as Nona, made landfall over the northern tip of the island of Samar after undergoing a rapid intensification.

    As it crossed the warm waters of the Philippine Sea, its maximum wind speeds rose from 155kph to 220kph between 20GMT on Sunday and 02GMT on Monday.

    Winds eased to 185kph over the northern tip of the island.

    Samar is a largely agricultural island, home to 1.5 million people. It was particularly badly affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, when massive seas inundated the island, killing at least 7,350 people.

    At this stage, there are no reports of casualties. This may be partly the result of the government's decision to evacuate more than 700,000 people from the most vulnerable areas.

    AT 03GMT, according to the Philippine's national weather agency, PAGASA, the centre of Melor was 85km east of Catarman on the north coast of Samar.

    Damaging winds and a storm surge of up to 3.6 metres are expected to continue to threaten central areas for a time, but Melor will weaken as it approaches Manila - the nation's capital is expected to experience winds of less than 60kph.

    Manila, however, is not expected to escape scot-free - heavy rain, perhaps as much as 300mm, could bring significant flooding to Manila on Wednesday and Thursday.

    This year has been an active one in terms of major storms hitting the Philippines. This is partly as a result of the ongoing strong El Nino, which has resulted in a significant warming of the surface waters of the central Pacific.

    Melor now joins Maysak, Noul, Soudelor, Goni, Mujigae and Koppu in the list of significant typhoons to have struck the country this year.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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