MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/07 November) — As of 6:00 a.m. Thursday, the eye of Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) was located based on all available data at 767 km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.
Classified as a super typhoon, Yolanda has intensified as it moves closer to the islands, packing maximum sustained winds of 215 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 250 kph, Pagasa said.
It is forecast to move west northwest at 30 kph, the weather bureau said.
The weather disturbance is expected to make landfall in the Visayas, but will also affect the Caraga Region and parts of Northern Mindanao, it added.
Pagasa has raised storm warning signal no. 1 over Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran Island, Camotes Island, Surigao del Norte including Siargao Island, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, and the northern part of Agusan Del Sur.
Residents in areas that are prone to floods and landslides have been advised to evacuate, as Yolanda is expected to bring heavy to intense rainfall within its 600 km diameter.
Pagasa said that if the typhoon stays on track, signal no. 4 will be raised over parts of eastern Visayas and southern Luzon.
American meteorologists on Wednesday said Yolanda, which was packing maximum sustained winds of 259 kph, is comparable to a Category 5 cyclone in the western hemisphere.
The tropical cyclone entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility early Thursday, and is expected to reach its peak strength of 268 kph sustained winds and 324 kph gusts in the next 12 hours, according to the Hawaii-based US Joint Typhoon Warning Center based in Hawaii.
Local government units in Mindanao have made preparations for the possible impact of Yolanda even if the typhoon is not expected to make landfall in the island. (MindaNews)