At least one person has been killed in the Philippines after Typhoon Doksuri lashed northern parts of the archipelago, ripping off roofs, knocking out power, flooding low-lying villages and displacing thousands of people.
The powerful storm, which brought winds of up to 175km per hour (108 mph) as it slammed into the Philippines on Wednesday, is expected to sustain strength as it continues its course towards Taiwan and China later this week.
The national disaster agency said at least one person died in the Philippine province of Rizal, east of the capital Manila, in the wake of the typhoon.
In northern Cagayan province, more than 12,000 people were evacuated from high-risk coastal villages and schools, and workplaces were shut down as a precaution.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
“Our northern coastal towns are being battered,” Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba told The Associated Press news agency by telephone.
“I’m receiving reports of tin roofs being blown away and flooding that could not drain out probably because of tidal surges coming in from the sea.”
A damage assessment would be done after the typhoon passes but Mamba said he feared there could be extensive damage to Cagayan valley’s corn and rice farms, which had already been battered by a months-long dry spell before Doksuri hit.
The Philippine weather bureau said “violent, life-threatening conditions are expected to continue” on Wednesday over northwestern Cagayan and the outlying Babuyan Islands as well as the northern mountainous Apayao and Ilocos Norte provinces.
The coastguard, meanwhile, said more than 4,000 passengers were stranded at various ports in the country after sea travel was suspended.
China’s Central Meteorological Administration said Doksuri is expected to move northwest at a speed of 10-15 km/h (6-9 mph) and enter the northeastern part of the South China Sea starting Wednesday night until Thursday morning.
It will sweep past southern Taiwan on Thursday and is predicted to make landfall along the coasts of central Fujian and eastern Guangdong provinces on Friday morning, Chinese weather forecasters predicted. Guangzhou Daily reported that it could be the strongest typhoon that has landed or seriously affected eastern Guangdong in the past 10 years.
In Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau said at 8:00am local time (00:00 GMT) that in the past three hours, the typhoon’s centre was close to hovering and at a standstill.
But authorities issued land warnings for several counties and cities in southern Taiwan including the major port city of Kaohsiung. An emergency response centre has been set up by the central government and nearly 50 domestic flights and four international flights, as well as many ferry lines, were cancelled.
Railway services between eastern and southern Taiwan will be suspended from Wednesday evening.
China’s National Meteorological Centre, meanwhile, upgraded its typhoon warning alert to red from orange as of 10am (02:00 GMT), the highest advisory among the four-tier colour-coded warning system.
Authorities also urged people to shore up on food, necessities and candles as a precautionary measure.
Doksuri would be the second typhoon to make landfall in China in less than two weeks after Talim slammed into Guangdong province on the evening of July 17.