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Powerful Typhoon Set to Hit Central Philippines

  • VOA News

Philippine authorities are making preparations for a "super typhoon" which is expected to slam into the central part of the country later this week.

​Disaster officials have issued their highest alert level ahead of the arrival of Typhoon Haiyan, which already boasts wind gusts of up to 185 kilometers per hour.

The storm is expected to strengthen before making landfall on the central province of Leyte early Friday. It could also hit Bohol province, which is still recovering from last month's 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

Philippine officials are considering preemptive evacuations in areas lying in the path of the storm. Coastguard official Rodolfo Isorena says the government aims to be well-prepared.

"We have alerted our personnel, especially our district units, stations and detachments where the typhoon is expected to pass. In fact, we have issued messages to recall deep-sea fishing boats," said Isorena.

By the time Haiyan arrives in the Philippines, forecasters say it could pack sustained winds of 260 kilometers per hour. That would be more than enough to be considered a "super typhoon" under standards set by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Philippine meteorologists warn that Haiyan could be more dangerous than last year's Typhoon Bopha, which killed hundreds in the southern part of the country.

The country is vulnerable to severe flooding caused by heavy rains and tsunamis. It is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons each year.

Typhoon Haiyan is also expected to take aim at Vietnam after it passes over the Philippines.