MANILA - Disaster officials on Tuesday raised the highest alert in a 3-step system as Typhoon Mangkhut churned closer to the Philippines, threatening to bring intense rains.
Mangkhut, which is expected to enter the country on Wednesday, may intensify into a super typhoon, state weather bureau PAGASA earlier said.
Under the red alert raised 8 a.m., all concerned agencies are tasked to prepare for typhoon and send representatives to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) headquarters, said its spokesperson Edgar Posadas.
Relief food packs have been pre-positioned in northern Luzon, which is expected to bear the brunt of Mangkhut's onslaught, he told radio DZMM.
He urged the public to cooperate with possible preemptive or forced evacuations.
Mangkhut was 1,820 kilometers east of Southern Luzon at 4 a.m., packing maximum sustained winds of up to 160 kilometers per hour and 195 kph gusts, PAGASA said in an advisory.
PAGASA categorizes a weather system with top sustained winds of 220 kph as a super typhoon, but Mangkhut can carry winds of up to 250 kph as it approaches extreme northern Luzon and before it leave the Philippine area, said ABS-CBN resident weather specialist Nilo Millanes.
The typhoon will head for the Batanes-Cagayan area, with its outer rain bands extending up to Metro Manila and Central Luzon, said PAGASA meteorologist Robert Sawi.
"Iyung bandang extreme northern Luzon, iyung mahahagip ng Bagyong Mangkhut, ito ay talagang grabe ang magiging hazard," he told radio DZMM.
(The extreme northern Luzon, the areas that will be lashed by Magkhut, can expect intense hazards.)
Tropical Depression Neneng, meanwhile, has left the Philippine area of responsibility. Its trough or extension, however, may bring cloudy skies and scattered rains over Ilocos Provinces, Cordilllera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley, said the weather agency.
Visit the ABS-CBN Weather Center for the latest weather updates.
With a report from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News