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T3 up in HK as weakened Storm Yutu nears

01 November 2018

Super Typhoon Rosita (Yutu) damaged this  warehouse in Santiago City, Isabela (ABS-CBN photo)

by The SUN

Strong wind Signal No. 3 is in force in Hong Kong as Tropical Storm Yutu, which caused death and destruction in northern Philippines early this week, heads towards the eastern coast of Guangdong on Thursday night.

But the Hong Kong Observatory says there’s little chance of raising the storm warning signal further.

“Unless Yutu takes on a track closer to the Pearl River Delta, the chance of issuing the No. 8 gale or storm signal is not high,” the observatory said in a press release earlier today.

Reports filtering in said the storm, called Super Typhoon Rosita in the Philippines where it packed a wind speed of 140km per hour and gusts of up to 230kph, left at least 15 people dead and about 30 trapped in landslides in northern Luzon.

Earlier, it devastated Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands, and was recorded as the strongest tropical cyclone to pass over the area, packing maximum winds of 180 mph, equivalent to a category 5 hurricane.

But it weakened as it made a landfall in the northern Philippines on Oct. 30, and was downgraded to severe tropical storm as it approached Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Observatory hoisted T3 at 12:40pm, meaning the winds with mean speeds of 41 to 62 kilometers per hour are expected.

At 2pm, Yutu was about 340 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong and is forecast to move north or north-northwest at about 12 kilometres per hour crossing the northeastern part of the South China Sea.

The Observatory is warning against swimming in the open sea.

“As there are swells, you are advised to stay away from the shoreline and not to engage in water sports,” the weather bureau said.

The observatory advised people to listen to the radio, watch TV or browse its website and mobile app for the latest information on Yutu.

The typhoon cut across Aurora, Quirino, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga and La Union on Tuesday before it exited to the West Philippine Sea on Wednesday.

Isabela and Quirino suffered the worst from the brunt of the typhoon, the 18th to hit the country this year. Video footages showed houses and commercial buildings wrecked, bridges washed away by flash floods and power lines toppled in the two provinces.

A state of emergency was declared in Quirino, where vast tracts of rice, corn and vegetable farms were damaged.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Thursday 6 of the fatalities were from the landslide in Natonin, Mountain Province; 6 from landslides in Banaue, Ifugao; 2 from landslides in Tinglayan, and 1 who drowned in Abra.

The number of fatalities may still rise as reports of missing individuals are still coming in, NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad was quoted by local media as saying.

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