Typhoon Nock-ten strands thousands in Philippines

Super Typhoon Nock-ten has left more than 11,000 travelers stranded after roaring into the Philippines and forcing the closure of ports in the Southeast Asian country.

The typhoon, known locally as Nina, made landfall over Bato in the province of Catanduanes at 8 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET) on Christmas day.
Authorities rushed to evacuate thousands of residents from low-lying areas of the eastern Philippines ahead of Nock-ten's arrival and the provinces of Catanduanes and Albay were declared under a "state of imminent danger/disaster."
Some 11,476 passengers, more than 1,000 cargo ships and over a dozen other vessels were stranded in various ports in the region, the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported Sunday.
Philippines Coast Guard spokesman Armand Balilo told CNN the storm had forced various ports to temporarily close. But he said travel was resuming in some parts and the number of stranded was expected to decrease in the coming hours.

Thousands evacuated

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that as of 8 a.m local time on Monday, 77,560 families -- 383,097 people -- were in evacuation centers in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Easter Visayas.
However, Nock-ten is weakening as it passes over the Philippines.
CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said winds had dropped to 150 kph -- equivalent to a Category 1 Atlantic Hurricane -- gusting to 185 kph.
The storm was moving west at 28 kph and was forecast to further diminish in strength as it crossed the open water of the South China Sea towards Vietnam.
"The storm will continue to move towards central Vietnam as a weak disturbance by Wednesday producing heavy rainfall over that region. Some models are projecting upwards of 200 mm with locally heavier amounts near Quang Ngai, Vietnam," he said. "This will not be welcome news for the Vietnam region which has suffered heavy flash flooding causing damage and fatalities over the past few months."

In the Philippines, Nock-ten is expected to traverse the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Southern Quezon, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite.
The Philippines' tropical cyclone warning signal number 4 was earlier hoisted for Catanduanes and neighboring Camarines Sur. The warning signal, the second-highest level on the scale of alerts, indicates the storm could cause "heavy damage" to high-risk structures. Rice, corn and coconut plantations will likely suffer severe losses.
A storm surge height of up to 2.5 meters is possible over the coastal areas of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
PAGASA reported that the typhoon would cause moderate to heavy rainfall in a 500-kilometer (311-mile) radius.

There were fears that Nock-ten could potentially bring flooding to the capital, Manila -- one of the most densely populated urban centers of the country.
Meantime, hospitals throughout the Philippines -- private and public -- are under a "code white alert," meaning leave has been canceled for surgeons, emergency room staff and thosespecializing in trauma and injury," Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said.

The Philippines has been battered by devastating typhoons in recent years, most notably Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 -- considered to be among the strongest storms to make landfall. Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and forced nearly 4 million people from their homes.

Powerful typhoon Nock-Ten is continuing to batter the Philippines, as it heads towards the area around the heavily-populated capital Manila.


Civil defence officials have been put on "red alert", as the storm is due to hit the city later on Monday.
The storm has weakened since making landfall on the eastern coast on Sunday, but it still packs winds up to 140 km/h (87mph), meteorologists say.
Three people were reported killed in Albay province, south-east of Manila.
The storm has cut power lines and uprooted trees.
Manila's civil defence office warned that the capital could be hit by "heavy to intense rains, flash floods and severe winds".
"Our local disaster councils are on red alert," said Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman of the country's disaster monitoring council.
"We have pre-positioned relief supplies and rescue and (road) clearing equipment in Metro Manila," she added.
The coastguard has ordered beaches south of Manila to be cleared.

The charity Save the Children told the BBC that up to one million people would need emergency shelter over the next 24 hours.
"The danger is really for those people who don't make it to the evacuation centres since a large percentage of the population still lives in very light construction wood shacks," said the charity's Philippines director Ned Olney, who is in Manila.
Nock-Ten (known as Nina in the Philippines) hit the coast near Catanduanes island late on Sunday, knocking out power.
Hours later, local media reported that in Albay province a couple were swept away in a flash flood and an elderly person was killed by a collapsing wall.
Erna Angela Pintor, 20, said the roof of her house in the eastern town of Ligao was ripped off and floods had forced others to flee their homes.
"This was supposed to be a celebration but we cannot celebrate," she told AFP news agency.
"This is a sad Christmas for us. No-one (in the family) died but a lot of our neighbours' homes were washed away."

About 100,000 people had been earlier moved from areas at risk in the Bicol region amid fears of widespread flooding and possible landslides.
There were fears Filipinos would ignore evacuation warnings to stay at home with family at Christmas, the biggest holiday in the largely Catholic nation.
Dozens of ports remain closed, with warnings of high waves.
The typhoon is expected to pass across the main island of Luzon, before heading into the South China Sea.
In October, Super Typhoon Haima hit the country, killing at least four people.
In 2013, super typhoon Haiyan claimed more than 7,350 lives.

Typhoon Nock-ten lashes central Philippines, cuts power

A typhoon slammed into central Philippines late on Sunday, bringing strong winds and heavy rains and cutting off power, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, weather officials and radio reports said.

Residents celebrating Christmas Day at the evacuation center take a break before Typhoon Nock-ten is expected to strike Legazpi City, Albay province, central Philippines December 25, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

Typhoon Nock-ten was packing maximum sustained winds of 185 kph (115 mph) with gusts up to 255 kph when it made landfall over Catanduanes province, which was under the highest storm alert, on the Bicol peninsula on Sunday evening.

The typhoon made a second landfall over Camarines Sur province, then weakened slightly with winds of 175 kph but gusts at 290 kph, the weather bureau said.

"We continue to pray, stay positive and stay alert. Brownout in a lot of areas already," Camarines Sur Governor Miguel Luis Villafuerte said in a post on his Instagram account.

Communication lines have been cut in some areas, radio reports said.

Around 218,000 people fled to evacuation centres after authorities warned of storm surges and flooding in coastal villages and low-lying areas.

Nock-ten could make another landfall early on Monday while moving west faster at 20 kph, from 15 kph previously, and crossing the provinces of Camarines Norte, Southern Quezon, Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite, weather forecasters said.

The typhoon's eye will be near Metro Manila on Monday afternoon, they said.

Land, sea and air travel has been suspended in some areas, leaving stranded thousands of people heading home for Christmas in the mostly Christian country.

In 2013, more than 6,000 people were killed and 200,000 homes destroyed when Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest-ever storm to make landfall in the Philippines, hit the central islands of Leyte and Samar.

About 20 major typhoons pass through the Philippines each year. Since 1948, at least seven have hit during the Christmas period.

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