MANILA - Typhoon Ompong was forecast to make landfall in the Cagayan-Isabela area earlier than expected as it gained a speed of 30 kilometers per hour (kph), state weather bureau PAGASA said Friday.
Ompong will make landfall between 1 a.m. to 3 a.m Saturday instead of 4 a.m. as earlier predicted, according to PAGASA weather specialist Lorie Dela Cruz.
The typhoon, the strongest yet to hit the Philippines this year, was moving northwest at 30 kph as of 8 p.m., picking up from its speed of 25 kph on Friday afternoon.
Four areas, meanwhile, have been placed under signal number 4, the second highest tropical cyclone warning signal, as Ompong neared landfall on Friday night.
At 7 p.m., the center of the typhoon was spotted at 260 kilometers east, northeast of Casiguran, Aurora. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 205 kph with 255 kph gusts.
Government has initiated urgent preparations in areas on the path of the storm, evacuating thousands, readying relief supplies, and prompting farmers to harvest their crops ahead of Ompong's onslaught.
Ompong was expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Sunday afternoon.
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