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Philippine-Bound Maysak Downgraded to Tropical Storm

Stranded passengers leave the port after learning that ferry services were stopped in preparation for an approaching storm in Marinduque island, central Philippines, April 4, 2015.

The Philippine weather bureau on Saturday downgraded Typhoon Maysak to a tropical storm as thousands of people were told to leave the country's northeastern coastline, where it was headed from the Pacific after killing four people and destroying hundreds of homes in Micronesia.

The weather bureau said that wind and rain would start lashing the eastern seaboard of the main island of Luzon late Saturday and that the storm would make landfall early Sunday.

The Philippine weather bureau changed the category of Typhoon Maysak to a tropical storm after its sustained winds weakened to 115 kilometers per hour (71 miles per hour), with gusts of 145 kph (90 mph). Under the Philippine weather system, only cyclones with sustained winds of 118 kph (73 mph) and over are classified as typhoons.

The off-season storm came as the nation was marking Holy Week, when many local and foreign tourists visit beach resorts, including popular surfing areas in the north.

Maysak, first forecast as a supertyphoon, left a path of destruction in Micronesia, sweeping through Chuuk state's numerous islands and passing just north of Yap state's outer islands Wednesday.

About 20 storms and typhoons enter the Philippines yearly. In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest on record to make landfall, devastated the central Philippines, killing more than 7,300 people.