Locally known as Lando in the Philippines, Typhoon Koppu is hitting the northern parts of the nation, causing massive damage to the region. The slow-moving storm is expected to continue battering the country for at least another three more days, with heavy rain and strong winds.
International Business Times, via Yahoo! News, reported that when Koppu first came ashore, sustained winds were measured at 149 mph, with an estimated coastal surge as high as 12 ft. Luzon Island, the country’s largest island, continues to get hit hard as the storm is leveling homes and taking out power. The typhoon’s cloud band is 372 miles wide and will continue to dump rain on the island.
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Prior to the eye’s landfall, over 14,000 residents were evacuated in anticipation of the typhoon’s landfall, including residents who live in areas prone to flash floods, storm surge, and landslides. Fortunately, no causalities have been reported thus far.
Alexandra Pama, chief of the Philippines’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Council, described some of the early reports coming in. “Initially, we are getting [reports that] many houses were destroyed, power lines toppled and trees blocking major roads,” he detailed.
CBS News reports as Typhoon Koppu struck the town of Casiguran in the Aurora province just after midnight, the storm weakened somewhat and slowed substantially. The weakening and slowing of the storm was caused by the Sierra Madre mountain range and a high pressure system farther north. Additionally, another developing typhoon far out in the Pacific may be affecting Koppu, as well.
Pama went on to say that due to the slow moving nature of Typhoon Koppu, forecasters are expecting the storm to remain in the region at least until Tuesday, October 20.
In another Yahoo! News report, the storm is currently moving west at just 3 kilometers per hour. “It has slowed almost to a crawl. We were hoping it would speed up and spare us sooner,” added Pama.
Forecasters say Koppu will continue to lose strength and become a tropical storm by Tuesday, and leave Luzon shortly thereafter. Current satellite images show Koppu’s eye is deteriorating, which is a direct indication that the storm is definitely losing strength.
Despite the weakening, the typhoon still has the potential to generate flash floods and landslides, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). “Estimated rainfall amount is from heavy to intense within the 600-km diameter of the typhoon,” PAGASA warned.
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The weather has improved in some Aurora towns prompting villagers to start clearing roads and debris. However, flights and other modes of transportation are significantly affected while bus service has been suspended in some areas due to possible mudslides. Local authorities are still in emergency mode as the typhoon still lingers in the area and continues to wreak havoc.
The northern region of the Philippines is still recovering from Typhoon Goni, which struck in August. In a previous Inquisitr report, Goni left 10 people dead and many missing. A year earlier, another powerful storm hit the Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan, which left 7,300 people either dead or missing in 2014.
As Typhon Koppu approached the Philippines, President Benigo Aquino III made an appeal on nationwide television to heed storm warnings and evacuation instructions. The Philippine president is currently anticipating relief assistance will be needed by approximately 7.5 million residents.
Storms like these are common in the Philippines, and Typhoon Koppu is no different. The people there are all too familiar with the devastation and potential loss of life that these storms bring. On average, the region is hit by 20 typhoons each year, making it one of the most disaster-prone areas in the world. Japanese for “cup,” the Philippines’ Typhoon Koppu is the 12th storm to hit this year.
[Featured image courtesy Shuttershock]