Thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes in the Philippines as a December typhoon edges closer to some of the country’s most densely populated areas, including the capital of Manila.
Typhoon Kammuri, known locally as Tisoy, is expected to strengthen to the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane by Tuesday morning Philippine time and make landfall in southeastern Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island. Authorities in the Albay province began evacuating 100,000 people in anticipation of the storm, according to the government-run Philippines News Agency (PNA).
“We have to evacuate them and for those (residents) who are stubborn, I have directed the police to forcibly bring them to the nearest evacuation camps,” Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara said, PNA reported.
The storm is packing winds of 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour), but those are expected to speed up to 185 kph (115 mph). Southern Luzon is forecast to receive 20 to 30 centimeters of rain (8-12 inches), which will bring a risk of flash flooding and mudslides. Top wind gusts could hit 200 kph (124 mph).
Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal Number 3 — out of the country’s domestic five-level scale — has been raised by authorities in several parts of the Philippines, while Signal No. 2 has been raised in Metro Manila.
Kammuri forced schools across the region to close Monday, according to CNN Philippines. Philippines-based airline Cebu Pacific has canceled a number of flights.
There are also concerns that the storm could affect the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, a biennial regional athletic competition that the Philippines is hosting. The games, which formally began Saturday, are expected to feature more than 8,000 athletes from 11 participating nations.
While December sees fewer typhoons in the Western Pacific, the waters around the Philippines stay warm enough to support typhoons in any month of the year.