Super typhoon Mangkhut intensifies as it heads towards the Philippines, southern China

Typhoon Mangkhut to intensify into deadly Cat 5 storm, mammoth rains likely

‘Mangkhut’ now a supertyphoon — US weather agency

Super typhoon Mangkhut - expected to be the strongest typhoon this year - is rapidly gathering momentum in the Pacific as it heads towards populous Asian coasts.

Almost 43 million people in the south-east Asian region could be affected, according to United Nations' Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

Mangkhut has already swept past the United States territory of Guam, in the western Pacific, where it caused flooding and power outages. The U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts top winds of 135 knots (155 miles per hour) with maximum gusts of 165 knots in the next three days.

Philippine officials say they plan to evacuate thousands of villagers, shut down schools and offices and scramble to harvest rice and corn as the most powerful typhoon so far this year menacingly roars toward the country's north.

PAGASA has warned residents in the area to prepare for possible flooding and landslides.

The Philippines is anticipating that Mangkhut will be as strong as Typhoon Haiyan, prompting the preparation of food, supplies and rescue efforts as well as 1.7 billion pesos (S$43.4 million) in stand-by funds, according to the disaster agency.

While the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that Hurricane Florence is set to make impact on the coastal areas of North and SC on September 14, Super Typhoon Mangkhut is larger and has an extra day or two before hitting a major body of land, possibly Luzon in the Philippines.

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Classes have also been cancelled in some areas of Luzon in the path of the typhoon.

Storm surges estimated to reach up to six meters are expected along the coast of eastern and northern Cagayan.

It is due to hit Hong Kong - a densely packed skyscraper city with more than seven million residents.

Mangkhut, classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a maximum category 5 super typhoon, is now forecast to pack maximum winds of 250 kilometres per hour by Friday (Sept 14) before gradually weakening.

Based on its 4 p.m. update, PAGASA said parts of the Bicol Region such as Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, and Sorsogon were already experiencing heavy rains with lightning and strong winds.

Guangdong is next on Mangkhut's track.

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