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Typhoon Chataan Heads for Japan - 2002-07-08


A powerful typhoon is heading toward southern Japan after leaving a wake of destruction and 15 people dead in the Philippines.

The Philippine Weather Bureau says Typhoon Chata'an intensified Monday as it moved away from the Philippines toward Okinawa, Japan.

Weather bureau forecaster, Lenny Ruiz, says the typhoon will be out of the Philippines area of responsibility by Tuesday. "It is forecast to move north-northeast at 15 kilometers per hour and is estimated to be at 300 kilometers northeast of Okinawa, Japan by Wednesday morning," he said.

The typhoon is sustaining winds of 180 kilometers per hour and is gusting up to 215 kilometers per hour.

The Philippine island of Luzon felt the worst of Chata'an in the past few days. Heavy rains caused floods in the capital, Manila - forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes. Many offices and schools remained shut Monday.

At least 15 people were killed, including three South Korean tourists who drowned when their boat capsized in heavy seas south of Manila.

Meanwhile, weather forecasters say a tropical depression forming in the South China Sea will bring more rain in the worst-affected areas in the Philippines in the next few days. Residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes have been advised to take precautionary measures.

A number of weather disturbances develop in the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea during this time of the year, often wreaking havoc in places like the Philippines, Japan, China and Taiwan.