MANILA - The typhoon bearing down northern Luzon is forecast to be as powerful as storms that earlier devastated the region, state weather bureau PAGASA said Saturday, as it warned of its possible impact.
PAGASA said Typhoon Rosita, expected to make landfall in the Cagayan-Isabela area on Tuesday, has the same direction and strength as four typhoons that hit the same region at around the same time of the year in the past.
Rosita is following the same track as Typhoon Ompong, which destroyed houses, toppled power lines, caused widespread flooding, and triggered deadly landslides in the north in September.
PAGASA warned that the approaching storm could be as destructive.
'Itong bagyong si Rosita, kasinglakas lang siya ni Ompong... 'Pag ito ay tumama sa kalupaan, destructive din itong bagyo. May malakas din siyang hangin, at 'yung mga bagay na made of light materials, sisirain din po 'yon. Ito ay posible ring mag-cause ng flooding at landslide, lalo po dito sa bulubunduking lugar, sa may Benguet at Cordilleras area," PAGASA's Rene Paciente said.
(Typhoon Rosita is almost as powerful as Ompong... Once it hits land, it will also be destructive. It will bring strong winds, and it may destroy houses made of light materials. It may also cause flooding and landslides in mountainous areas like Benguet and Cordillera.)
Rosita's 800-kilometer diameter is also close to Ompong's 900-kilometer diameter.
Ompong left at least 80 dead and more than a hundred hurt.
Aside from Ompong, Rosita is also comparable to typhoons Lawin, Lando and Juan, which all brought destruction to northern, central and southern Luzon in the past.
Super Typhoon Lawin, which hit the country in October 2016, had maximum sustained winds of 225 kph and gusts of up to 315 kph.
It affected Regions I, II, III, V, CAR and CALABARZON, leaving a death toll of 23.
During Lawin's onslaught, PAGASA raised Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 5, the highest level.
Rosita is likewise comparable to Typhoon Lando, which hit the country in October 2015.
Lando affected almost the same areas devastated by Lawin, and had a death toll of 48.
Typhoon Juan, meanwhile, devastated northern, central and southern Luzon in October 2010, killing 31 people and wounding 42 others.
Rosita was last spotted at 1,345 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan and is moving west at 20 kms per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 200 kph with wind gusts of up to 245 kph.
Rosita is expected to make landfall over the Cagayan-Isabela area by Tuesday, just two days before millions of Filipinos troop to cemeteries for the annual Undas commemoration.