‘Catastrophic winds’ are forecast when the storm hits.
Hurricane Goni, predicted to be the strongest hurricane to hit the Philippines this year, made landfall earlier on Sunday with weather officials predicting “catastrophic wind damage” as it passed through the country.
The warning comes as emergency response teams backed by Philippine police and military are scrambling to prepare. Pagasa, the national weather agency, said in a tweet posted Sunday morning that winds were forecast to be particularly strong in Catanduanes province and other regions.
“Over the next 12 hours, catastrophic, catastrophic winds and heavy torrential rainfall related to the eyepiece area and the inner rains of the storm will have to go through,” the agency said in a statement. separate announcement.
Pagasa said the hurricane eye center Goni made landfall at 4:50 a.m. in Catanduanes, an island province, Pagasa said. Its path is expected to take it through Luzon, the country’s most populous island and the country’s capital region.
Super storm or not, the storm is expected to cause widespread destruction.
Hurricane Goni maintained winds 135 mph at its center and hurricane 165 mph was that of early Sunday morning, prompting Typhoon Center section to warn to classify storms as a super typhoon.
The eye of the storm – which Filipino officials call Typhoon Rolly under its own naming system – is expected to pass near Metro Manila, the metropolitan area and home to more than 24 million people.
Ricardo Jalad, head of the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Saturday on state television: “We are predicting widespread destruction even though This storm does not become a super storm.
The Philippine weather agency said that coupled with intense winds and torrential rains, storm surges along the expected coastline.
Goni, the 18th storm to hit the Philippines this year, comes just days after the Molave storm ripped through the country, causing heavy rains and causing severe flooding. The Molave killed 22 people and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate before moving to Vietnam, where it caused deadly landslides.
The disaster management’s Mr. Jalad said evacuation in areas threatened by Goni began on Friday. The agency reported that nearly one million people in southern Luzon were evacuated on Saturday.
Local officials can order a forced evacuation if necessary, Jalad said.
“If they see that their voters are facing danger, they are empowered to carry out forced evacuations with the help of the Philippine National Police and agencies,” said Jalad. other offer. There were “avoidable casualties” during the Molave storm, he added, as some people ignored warnings.
The Philippines experiences at least 20 tropical storms and typhoons every year, some of which are fatal. Thousands of people were killed in November 2013 when super typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines.
Aid and rescue services are available.
The Philippine Red Cross builds rescue vehicles and emergency response teams throughout Luzon.
“We are determined to do everything we can to help these communities prepare for the coming storm,” said Richard Gordon, President of the Red Cross.
He said the disasters complicated the country’s response to Covid-19, which infected more than 370,000 people and killed 7,185. Evacuation centers can make social detachment more difficult than usual.
The Philippine military also said it has also deployed emergency response units in areas expected to be affected by the storm.