MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon "Pablo" (international name: Bopha) weakened further as it moved towards northern Palawan, state weather bureau PAGASA said on Wednesday morning.
PAGASA located Pablo 140 kilometers east of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan as of 6 a.m.
From its previous wind strength of 140 kilometers per hour on Tuesday evening, Pablo is now packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kph near the center and gusts of up to 160 kph.
Northern Palawan and Calamian Groups of Islands were placed under public storm warning signal number 3 as the typhoon heads towards West Philippine Sea. These areas should expect 101-185 kph winds.
Meanwhile, the following areas remain under signal nos. 2 and 1:
Signal no. 2 (61-100 kph winds)
- Rest of Palawan
- Southern Cebu
- Negros Oriental
- Negros Occidental
Signal no. 1 (30-60 kph winds)
- Occidental Mindoro
- Lubang Is.
- Oriental Mindoro
- Rest of Cebu
- Lanao del Norte
- Misamis Occidental
- Zamboanga del Norte
PAGASA said Pablo has maintained its speed, moving west-northwest at 24 kph.
PAGASA forecaster Chris Perez said the rains that Pablo was bringing was comparable to what tropical "Sendong" brought over the region last year.
However, Perez said it helped that Pablo was moving faster, avoiding more destruction.
With its current and speed and direction, Pablo is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday morning.
Reports gathered by the media, meanwhile, pegged the death toll from the typhoon at 81.
In New Bataan town in Compostela Valley, 43 people died when flash floods swept away an Army patrol base, a landslide hit a community, and trees fell on people at the height of the typhoon.
The typhoon also left dead at least 29 people in Davao Oriental province.
Twenty-three people died in Cateel town alone because of a flash flood caused by a storm surge, provincial police director Supt. Romil Mitra said. Three were killed in Caraga, and three died in Banganga, Tarragona, and Manay.
Three people also died in Surigao del Sur, according to police chief Supt. Ranier Perlas.
One of the fatalities, 68-year-old Rosita Amundio, died when a coconut tree fell on her house.
Two more were killed in Lingig, near Surigao del Sur's boundary with Davao Oriental, and five people died in Trento town in Agusan del Sur.
More than 53,000 people had moved into nearly 1,000 government shelters by early Tuesday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.