Philippines hit by Super Typhoon Noru
Super Typhoon Noru began to hit the Philippines on Sunday, stoking fears of flooding and destroying crops and prompting thousands to evacuate their homes.
The super typhoon has begun to inflict high winds and heavy rains on the densely populated main island of Luzon. Noru landed at 17:30 local time (0930 GMT) in the municipality of Burdeos in the Polillo Islands, which are part of Quezon Province.
Accompanied by winds of 195 km/h, Noru, known as Karding in the Philippines, is the strongest typhoon recorded in the country this year. It was strengthening at an “unprecedented” rate, according to the National Weather Service.
The Philippine Weather Service issued an alert Sunday night over “severe flooding” in highly exposed and vulnerable areas of the capital Manila and nearby provinces.
“We are asking residents of vulnerable areas to heed calls to evacuate if necessary,” said Philippine Police Chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin.
“The winds were strong this morning,” said Ernesto Portillo, 30, who works as a cook in the coastal community of Infanta, in Quezon province.
“We’re a little worried,” he added. We secured our belongings and bought groceries when needed.”
About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, a phenomenon scientists say is trending toward worsening due to climate change.
Nine months ago, another super typhoon killed more than 400 people in the center and south of the country.
A typhoon is designated as a “super typhoon” when its winds exceed a certain speed, with the threshold varying according to national weather services (in the Philippines, this threshold is 185 km/h).
The speed of the winds accompanying Noru increased by 90 km/h in just 24 hours, an “unprecedented” intensification, forecaster Robb Gile estimated.
– “Intensification Explosive” –
“Typhoons are like engines, they need fuel and an exhaust to run,” Gile said.
According to him, the Pacific-born Noru “has good fuel because it has plenty of warm water along its path and has good exhaust performance in the upper layers of the atmosphere. It’s a good recipe for explosive intensification.”
According to the weather service, the wind speed on land could reach 205 km/h.
The service warned of floods, landslides and strong waves in the affected areas. Schools remain closed on Monday and maritime traffic has been halted.
In the Manila region, which was hit by the typhoon 100 km northeast of the capital and home to 13 million people, forced evacuations have been carried out in some high-risk areas, including slums along the rivers.
“I evacuated the house where I live because I’m afraid of the rapidly rising water,” Gloria Pérez, 68, who is part of a group sheltered in tents under the roofs, told AFP about a basketball court . “I’ve been through this before and I don’t want to go through it again.”
Dozens of flights to or from the Philippine capital were suspended on Monday.
More than 8,300 people fled their homes ahead of the typhoon, including residents of several townships in Quezon province, authorities said.
In neighboring Aurora Province, residents of Dingalan Township have also been taken to emergency shelters.
“People living near the coast have been told to evacuate. We live far from the coast so we stayed. We’re more worried about the water coming out of the mountains,” said Rhea Tan, 54, a restaurateur in Dingalan.
The typhoon is expected to weaken as it passes over Luzon Island before heading into the South China Sea towards Vietnam on Monday.
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