Philippines, China, Taiwan brace for Super Typhoon Doksuri
While it was expected to remain offshore, the typhoon was likely to pass closely by outlying islands
Super Typhoon Doksuri rolled toward the northern Philippines on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour (115 miles per hour), prompting evacuation orders for coastal areas.
Forecasters predict Doksuri will move on to hit Taiwan before plowing into densely populated parts of China with torrential rain and strong winds.
Work canceled, towns emptied
Doksuri, which is called "Egay" in the Philippines, is headed toward the northern tip of the main island of Luzon and pass the Cagayan and Batanes provinces.
While it was expected to remain offshore, the typhoon was likely to pass closely by outlying islands.
The country's weather bureau hiked the highest storm signal warning level of 5 over the Babuyan Islands, where as many as 20,000 people could be affected.
Cagayan's Governor Manuel Mamba said work and classes would be suspended to allow people to prepare for the onslaught. He ordered the evacuation of thousands of people in 11 coastal towns thought likely to bear the brunt.
Boats, including passenger ferries that provide transport between islands, have been ordered to shore amid the gale warnings.
Forecasters said Doksuri's 680-kilometer- (420-mile-) wide rainband could cause flash floods and landslides in northern provinces.
Some 20 major storms hit the Philippines each year, and scientists warn they are becoming more powerful as temperatures rise because of climate change.
Taiwan and China also batten down
Taiwan was also preparing on Tuesday, with the island's premier Chen Chien-Jen visiting the Central Emergency Operation Center and urging local authorities to remain on high alert.
Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau issued a land warning, with Doksuri expected to brush the southern Hengchun Peninsula on Wednesday.
There were waves of up to 6 meters (about 20 feet) along the coasts of southeastern Taiwan and some recreational activities and ferry services were canceled. Military drills were also called off.
China's National Meteorological Center said Doksuri would make landfall on the Chinese mainland somewhere between Fujian and Guangdong provinces on Friday.
Although the typhoon is likely to lose much of its wind speed by then, it could still batter heavily populated cities with strong winds and torrential rain.
China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs provided advice to farmers on how to limit damage, warning that Doksuri could travel deep inland and wreck crops such as corn and even rice.