MANILA - Potentially destructive cyclone ''Lawin'' intensified into a super typhoon Wednesday afternoon, prompting state weather bureau PAGASA to hoist public storm warning signal number 5 over Isabela and Cagayan.
In a 2 p.m. advisory, PAGASA said the typhoon was packing top sustained winds of 225 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 315 kph.
Lawin's diameter also expanded from 700 kilometers to 800 kilometers. Provinces lying in the diameter will experience moderate to heavy and occasionally intense rains that may trigger landslides, flash floods and storm surges.
Also placed under storm signals are the following areas:
The typhoon was expected to hit land in the Isabela-Cagayan area between late Wednesday to early Thursday.
Rene Paciente, PAGASA'S Assistant Weather Services Chief, earlier said the typhoon would unleash "destructive" winds and rains, even in provinces outside of its landfall area.
“Iyung bagyong ito, talagang super strong siya. Kahit saan tatama iyun, talagang destructive siya. Huwag niyo nang anuhin kung saan mag-landfall, kahit tatama siya ng Cagayan o Isabela, destructive pa rin siya dahil sa laki ng diameter ng bagyo natin,” Paciente said.
PAGASA meteorologist Samuel Duran also warned that storm surges of up to five meters may hit Cagayan, Calayan Islands, Isabela, and Ilocos Norte.
The typhoon was last plotted 300 kilometers east of Casiguran, Aurora at 1 p.m.
It may leave the Philippine area of responsibility late Thursday or early Friday.
The deadliest and strongest cylcone on record, Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), destroyed entire towns in the central Philippine islands in November 2013, leaving more than 7,350 people dead or missing.