Central Philippines in darkness; Typhoon Melor weakens
Power services in six provinces of central Philippines were disrupted plunging the region into darkness as Typhoon Melor roared across central Philippines. The weakening storm was still packing winds of 140 kph and was 40 km north-northeast of Romblon island early today morning. Reportedly, Melor is expected to move away from the Philippines by Wednesday and weaken to a tropical depression by Thursday.
The difficulty in identifying Melor's category
Typhoon Melor underwent rapid intensification on Sunday, and the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center upgraded Melor from a tropical storm to a Category 4 typhoon. However, objective satellite estimates from University of Wisconsin-Madison suggested that Melor topped out in the Category 2 range before its eye dissipated on Sunday evening. However, Melor's eye reappeared unexpectedly on Monday morning, hours before it made landfall.
Philippines and typhoons
On an average, 20 major typhoons pass through the Philippines every year. The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines in recent years was Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which left over 7,500 people dead and over 1.4 million people homeless.
Over 700,000 people evacuated in typhoon warning
Philippines conducted one of the biggest mass evacuations in recent history in preparation for Typhoon Melor, locally known as Typhoon Nona. Around 590,000 people were evacuated in the Albay province over fears of typhoon-triggered volcanic mudflows from the Mount Mayon Volcano. According to a spokesman for President Benigno S. Aquino III, a total of 724,839 people had been evacuated in anticipation of the storm.
Scores of flights grounded for Typhoon Melor
About 40 domestic flights were cancelled for Typhoon Melor, and public storm alerts were issued in several provinces. 73 ferries and hundreds of fishing boats were ordered to remain in port in the village of Batag on the northern tip of Samar island in anticipation of the storm. Schools and offices are to remain closed till Typhoon Melor goes off the main land.
Typhoon Melor makes landfall
Typhoon Melor tore in off the Pacific Ocean to make landfall close to Sorsogon on the heavily populated island of Luzon, about 385 km southeast of the Philippines' capital, Manila. Winds of upto 155 kph were recorded as Typhoon Melor made landfall dumping heavy rain on the island. There are reports of 4 casualties, but such reports cannot yet be confirmed said the authorities.