A prayer for deliverance from calamities will be recited in Catholic churches across the Philippines starting Thursday as the country braces for Typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut), a powerful storm expected to hit northern Luzon.
Forecasters said Typhoon Mangkhut, considered as the strongest this year, could hit northern Cagayan province on Saturday.
Mangkhut, classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, is forecast to pack maximum winds of 230 kilometers per hour by Friday before gradually weakening.
Multiple Hong Kong airlines, including flag carrier Cathay Pacific, have announced they will waive charges for rebooking or re-routing flights arriving or departing the city during the worst of the storm. It will then track towards Hong Kong, hopefully just south of the major city, and could bring damaging winds and flooding there early next week.
A missile test aboard a navy ship to be attended by President Rodrigo Duterte off northern Bataan province was canceled due to the approaching typhoon.
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"Even further strengthening is expected with Mangkhut as it moves westward toward land", AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty wrote on the website.
As of Wednesday, Typhoon Mangkhut was carrying maximum sustained winds of 205km/h and gusts of up to 255km/h, according to the Philippine weather bureau.
As the U.S. east coast braces for Hurricane Florence, an even stronger super typhoon is barreling down on southeast Asia, with Hong Kong and Macau square in its path.
The storm may cause as much as 13.5 billion pesos in damage to crops, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol wrote on his Facebook account Tuesday.
The storm, named after a fruit in Thailand, is forecast by the USA military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center to bring top winds of 145 knots (268 kilometers per hour) with maximum gusts of 175 knots.
"In Taiwan, while there could be locally damaging wind in the south, flooding rainfall will be the main threat across eastern and southern areas", AccuWeather Meteorologist Tony Zartman wrote on the website.