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Typhoon Sarika slams into Philippines: 2 dead, thousands displaced and without power

Sunday, October 16, 2016 23:00
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October 2016PHILIPPINES A powerful typhoon slammed into the northeastern coast of the Philippine’s main island, Luzon, on Sunday. The storm killed two people, knocked out electricity and caused nearly ten thousand people to flee their homes. Typhoon Sarika is packing sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kmph), with gusts up to 135 mph (220 kmph)
“The roofs of some house[s] were blown away and power was cut in some areas,” said Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. “Minor landslides were also reported as well as floods. We’re waiting for the typhoon to blow over to conduct a fuller assessment.” The cyclone began weakening after making landfall before dawn Sunday (1830 GMT/UTC Saturday), eventually raking across mountainous terrain and sparsely populated areas in the morning, and was expected to blow out into the South China Sea by afternoon.
Villagers along the coast were given advanced notice to seek higher ground. Still, one man drowned when strong river currents swept him away, and a farmer died when a powerful wind slammed him to the ground head first, according to provincial safety officer Gerry Beo. He added that three fishermen were also missing.
On Friday the area was drenched in a month’s worth of rain, in a single day sending rivers and creeks over their banks and flooding low-lying farming villages, according to Beo. He added that about 260,000 people were without electricity across the island province of Catanduanes. The storm forced 50 mountaineers in Bataan province to descend from Mount Tarak. But 36 others remained stranded in the highlands, according to police and firefighters who were trying to rescue them.
Nearly 200 domestic and international flights were canceled and thousands of passengers were stranded in seaports after local ferries were ordered to be docked because of the high seas. The Philippines is no stranger to typhoons: about 20 such storms rake the island nation every year, adding to the many hardships in a country that is also threatened by earthquakes and volcanoes.  –DW
 Ten cyclones predicted for the Pacific: Weather agencies around the Pacific say the region can expect about 10 named tropical cyclones over the November to April cyclone period. That is the typical annual number over the past 30 years and the agencies say conditions are likely to be near average over most islands through this time. They warn that all countries should remain vigilant in case conditions in the equatorial Pacific change during the cyclone season.
They warn that intensification, especially late in the season, is common. In the past two years the Pacific has been battered by two severe cyclones – Pam, which caused a lot of damage in Vanuatu last year and Winston which hit Fiji with record ferocity in February of this year.  –Radio New Zealand

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