From: Manny Mogato, Reuters, MANILA
Published October 18, 2010 06:15 AM

Super typhoon hits Philippines

The Philippines declared a state of calamity in a northern province after super typhoon Megi made landfall on Monday, cutting off power, forcing flight cancellations and putting the region's rice crop at risk.

Megi, the 10th and strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, hit Isabela province at 11:25 a.m. (0325 GMT) and was heading west-southwest across the north of the main island of Luzon with winds of 190 kph (117 mph) near the center, forecasters said.

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Tropical Storm Risk (www.tropicalstormrisk.com) said Megi, known locally as Juan, was a category 5 super typhoon, the highest rating, with winds of more than 250 kph (155 mph).

The weather bureau said the typhoon had weakened and slowed down after it slammed into mountains in northwest Luzon late in the morning.

Lieutenant-General Gaudencio Pangilinan, head of the military in northern Luzon, said the typhoon's fury was felt in Cagayan and Isabela provinces, where trees were uprooted and roofs of houses blown away.

"There's almost zero visibility in some areas due to heavy rain and strong wind," Pangilinan told Reuters by phone. "We expect extensive damage on property and agriculture. We're still validating reports from the field."

The typhoon is expected to clear Luzon island on Monday night, and head across the South China Sea toward China and possibly Vietnam, which is already suffering from floods.

Photo shows the track of Typhoon Megi, locally known as Juan, at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Manila October 17, 2010.  Credit: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69H0EI20101018

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