Thousands Evacuated as Typhoon Noul Nears Philippines

Typhoon Noul

David Feeney and Agencies, The Guardian, May 12, 2015

Thousands of people were evacuated from part of the Philippines as a typhoon expected to bring winds of more than 100 mph passed close to the coast.

Typhoon Noul was forecast to bring gusts exceeding 120 mph and sustained speeds of 100mph, plus heavy rain that prompted warnings of landslides in mountainous areas.

By Sunday the typhoon had shrunk significantly but still threatened heavy to intense rains and storm surges of up to 1.5 metres over the eastern coasts of Isabela and Cagayan, the weather bureau said. “It will almost just brush the country but it will bring strong winds,” weather forecaster Fernando Cada said.

UK-based Tropical Storm Risk estimated the typhoon, forecast to develop into a category 5, would skip Philippine provinces and veer north over water towards Japan.

Raben Dimaano, a disaster official in Sorsogon province, said more than 11,000 people were moved to temporary shelters in two towns around Mount Bulusan – a volcano which erupted twice this week – because of the danger of mudflows.

Mayors in areas likely to be affected were deciding whether any further evacuations were necessary, said the state weather forecaster.

“Our advice is for people on the eastern seaboard to avoid outdoor activities,” state weather forecaster Fernando Cada said.

Ferry services were shut down, leaving thousands of commuters stranded at ports, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

More than 10,000 passengers and 1,000 shipping vessels were stranded in various ports in the country, mostly along its eastern seaboard. Cebu Pacific cancelled at least six domestic flights to northern Philippines.

About 20 storms and typhoons hit the Philippines annually. The strongest on record to make landfall – typhoon Haiyan – devastated the central Philippines in November 2013, claiming more than 7,300 lives.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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