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Philippines braces for powerful typhoon

The Associated Press MANILA (AP) — The most powerful typhoon of the season is closing in on the northern Philippines, where officials ordered precautionary evacuations and closures of schools and offices and urged farmers to quickly harvest their crops to reduce damage.

Forecasters said Typhoon Mangkhut, considered as the strongest this year, could hit northern Cagayan province on Saturday. It was located about 800 kilometers away in the Pacific with sustained winds of 265 kph and gusts of up to 325 kph. It could maintain the strength of a super typhoon when it hits land in the northeastern corner of Luzon Island.

On Guam, residents woke up Tuesday to flooded streets, downed trees and widespread power outages after Mangkhut passed through overnight.

With a massive rain band 900 kilometers wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the storm could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods, Philippine state forecaster Meno Mendoza said.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said by telephone that northern coastal and island villages in the typhoon’s projected path will begin evacuating residents on Thursday ahead of the expected onslaught. He said classes will be suspended and offices, except those involved in rescue and relief work, advised to close on Friday.

In 2016, a super typhoon lashed the southern section of Cagayan, destroying tens of thousands of houses.

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