TEMPO.CO, Manila - A strong typhoon packing winds of more than 200 kph (124 mph) tore across the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday, Sept. 14, bringing heavy rain and causing widespread power and communications outages.
There were no immediate reports of casualties after super typhoon Mangkhut, a category 5 storm, entered the province of Cagayan in the early hours and sent winds and rains across the entire main island of Luzon.
Disaster authorities have yet to complete damage assessments from Mangkhut, the 15th and most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year, which had maximum gusts of 305 kph (190 mph), and was expected to clear land after 10:00 a.m. on its way towards southern China and Vietnam.
"Almost all of the buildings here have been damaged, the roofs were blown away," said Rogelio Sending, a government official in Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan. "There has been no electricity supply, communications were also down.
"We've received reports that many trees were uprooted and electric posts toppled and are blocking the roads. This makes the clearing operations really difficult."
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from coastal areas following warnings of possible storm surges of 3 to 6 meters. Floods, landslides and widespread property destruction are expected.
Television footage and videos posted on social media showed bursts of rain, trees thrashed by winds, shop signs were torn down and metal sheets peeled off roofs.
Philippine authorities said some people had opted to stay home and ride out the storm to protect their properties.