More than 2000 people are fleeing their homes as Typhoon Noul strikes the northern Philippines.
The storm has triggered warnings of possible flash floods, landslides and tsunami-like storm surges.
Its movement has slowed slightly but it has also strengthened to pack gusts of 220km/h, chief of the government’s weather monitoring division, Esperanza Cayanan, said.
The storm hit Cagayan province on the northern edge of the main island of Luzon on Sunday afternoon and was expected to move northwest, towards Japan.
In Taiwan, which is also in the storm’s predicted path, authorities evacuated almost 1000 tourists from an island off the southeast coast.
“This is a very dangerous storm,” Rene Paciente, head of the Philippines’ marine weather division, said. “It is the strongest so far this year.”
More than 1680 people in Cagayan have already been evacuated from coastal villages, regional civil defence chief Norma Talosig said.
More than 2000 people were expected to flee, but Talosig expressed fears that some people would refuse to go because of complacency.
“The weather was good there earlier, so it was a bit hard to get the message out,” she said.
“Some people were worried about the security of the belongings they may leave behind. We have been trying our best, aiming for zero casualties but our efforts will be useless if some people don’t listen.”
National civil defence chief Alexander Pama said that given the possibility of storm surges of up to two metres, they were taking no chances.
“Our armed forces are already moving… to help in the evacuation,” he said. “So, too, are our police forces who are conducting evacuations in their municipalities.”
Storm surges – tsunami-like waves generated by powerful typhoons – have become a major concern during storms.
Several hundred people living in a farming hamlet below the restive Bulusan volcano on Luzon have also been evacuated because of the potential for rain to mix with volcanic ash and form deadly, fast-moving mudflows.
The civil defence office also cited numerous areas that could be hit by landslides or flash floods because of the “heavy to intense rainfall” brought by the typhoon.