Typhoon slams into northeastern Philippines

Updated: 2006-11-12 09:13

MANILA - A powerful typhoon intensified Saturday as it slammed the northeastern Philippines, ripping roofs off buildings and downing power lines, officials said.

Authorities urged residents to brace for possible floods and landslides as the second typhoon in as many weeks roared through rice-growing provinces of northern Luzon island.

Pedestrians cover their heads as they brave the rain in Bagu, north of Manila, Philippines from Typhoon Chebi on Saturday.[Reuters]

Forecasters said Typhoon Chebi gained power overnight and had sustained winds of 120 mph.

Chebi made landfall in northeastern Aurora province early Saturday morning. It was forecast to move out into the South China Sea later in the day.

Nearly 30 northeastern provinces were placed under a storm alert because of rains, winds and rough sea waters.

¡°The winds are powerful and the flood waters are high. People have been awake since 3 a.m.,¡± Department of Environment officer James Martinez said in an interview on Radio DZRH from Dilasag town in Aurora province.

He said local authorities were advising residents in low-lying areas to evacuate to higher ground.

Radio reports said power lines were knocked down in the provinces and there was damage to houses, but there were no casualties.

Many of the areas had suffered damage last week when Typhoon Cimaron slammed the same region, leaving 15 people dead in flash flood and landslides. It came on the heels of Typhoon Xangsane, which left 230 people dead and missing in and around Manila in late September.

About 20 typhoons and tropical storms lash the country each year. Chebi, which means swallow in Korean, is the 17th this season.

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