News Column

Thousands Evacuated as Typhoon Hits Philippines

July 15, 2014

UPI International Top News

Thousands of Filipinos in the northeast of the island nation continue to evacuate as Typhoon Rammasun makes landfall. The storm is expected to make landfall sometime late Tuesday near the Bicol region.

"This is an agricultural region, and most of the people we are evacuating are farmers and fishermen," explained Cedric Daep, head of the Public Safety Emergency Management Office in Bicol's Albay province.

The typhoon will bring wind gusts upwards of 100 mph. Rammasun, which translates as "God of Thunder" in Thai, was upgraded overnight Monday from the less powerful tropical storm designation to the more threatening typhoon category. Officials fear widespread flooding and even landslides.

In the Philippines, where weather officials have their own naming system, the storm is being referred to as Typhoon Glenda -- a much less threatening moniker than Rammasun.

Schools in the region canceled classes and several international flights were grounded. Shipping lanes were closed in anticipation of rough seas, stranding hundreds of would-be ferry passengers at ports.

Not that it is any consolation to the thousands currently at evacuation centers, but the Philippines are rather used to this by now. As many as 20 major storms, most of the tropical storm variety, hit the country every year.

Last year, four typhoons -- the equivalent of the Western Hemisphere's hurricanes -- hit the Philippines. Some parts of the country are still recovering from 2013's deadly Super Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda. That storm featured gusts as strong as 235 mph.

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Original headline: Typhoon Rammasun hits Philippines, thousands evacuated



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