About 2,500 residents fled as powerful Typhoon Noul slammed into the northeastern tip of the Philippines Sunday, as officials warned of possible flash floods, landslides and tsunami-like storm surges.
The storm made landfall at Santa Ana in Cagayan province on the northern edge of the main island of Luzon, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital, Manila, Sunday afternoon, the government weather station said. Power was cut in Tuguegarao City, the capital of the province of about 1 million inhabitants.
Around 2,500 residents were evacuated to safer grounds in Cagayan and Isabela provinces, and no casualties or damage were immediately reported, said Norma Talosig, the civil defense regional director. "Hopefully it brings only rain because we need rain," she said.
The storm's movement has slowed slightly, but it had also strengthened to pack gusts of 220 kph (137 mph), said Esperanza Cayanan, chief of the government's weather monitoring division.
Heading toward Japan
The storm, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) in diameter is forecast to blow out of the country Tuesday morning and head toward southern Japan.
In Taiwan, which is also in the storm's predicted path, authorities warned sailors of strong winds and high waves and evacuated almost 1,000 tourists from an island off the southeast coast, the French news agency AFP reported Sunday.
Public works personnel were using chain saws to clear roads of fallen trees in Cagayan's Gonzaga town, DZMM radio reported.
Forecasters warned of 1.6-meter-high (1.75-yard-high) storm surges in Santa Ana, which also includes Palaui Island, with a population of about 30,000 people.
About 300 people who had fled to shelters near Mount Bulusan, southeast of Manila, returned home Sunday after the typhoon moved northward, sparing the province mudslides involving volcanic debris, said Joric dela Rosa, a civil defense worker in the region.
More than 5,000 passengers and about 100 vessels were stranded in ports on Saturday, mostly along the eastern seaboard. Airline Cebu Pacific canceled at least six domestic flights to the northern Philippines.
About 20 storms and typhoons hit the Philippines each year. The strongest on record to make landfall, Typhoon Haiyan, devastated the central Philippines in November 2013, claiming more than 7,300 lives.
Material for this report came from AP, Reuters and AFP.