At least 12 dead after Typhoon Mangkhut lashes Philippines

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Super typhoon Mangkhut is approaching the Philippines with estimated 167 miles per hour winds and gusts to 200 miles per hour, threatening a devastating impact to the northern tip of the main island of Luzon when it makes landfall on Saturday.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

There are immediate deaths reported but Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says officials in northeastern Cagayan province where the typhoon slammed ashore before dawn are verifying the drownings of two children.

Authorities are taking extra precautions as they draw comparison with Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated central areas of the archipelago in 2013, and killed 6,300 people, many in storm surges that reached as high as eight metres.

The typhoon, with gusts reaching 190mph, knocked out power as it tore across the northern part of Luzon island - an area that is home to about 10 million people, many of whom live in flimsy wooden dwellings.

HONG KONG ― The narrow, bustling streets of this skyscraper-studded metropolis emptied out early on Saturday night as Super Typhoon Mangkhut, the world's most powerful storm this year, barreled westward across the Pacific.

Mangkhut - stronger than Hurricane Florence, which is now lashing the US East Coast - is expected to make landfall on the Philippines island of Luzon island early on Saturday.

As Typhoon Mangkhut makes its way through northern Philippines, dozens of Taiwan-Hong Kong/Macau flights were canceled for September 15-17.

Associated Press journalists in a hotel in Cagayan's capital city of Tuguegarao saw tin roof sheets and other debris hurtle through the air and store signs crash to the ground.

Four million people were in its path, and thousands were evacuated amid warnings of 6m (20ft) storm surges.

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"We learned our lesson last time".

The typhoon is approaching at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, and farmers were scrambling to save what they could of their crops.

Earlier Friday, the storm passed over the USA territory of Guam, knocking down trees and taking out 80 percent of the island's power. Though it is likely to weaken from a super typhoon to a severe typhoon, it will still be packing sustained winds of 109 miles per hour, it said.

Mangkut, named internationally after the Thai word for a fruit in Southeast Asia but known in the Philippines as Ompong, had crossed Luzon, the Philippines' largest island, and was headed for Hong Kong and southern China.

"The newscaster said the typhoon now is twice as strong", added Parallag, who makes money selling street food.

A Strong Wind Signal No. 3 is in force in Hong Kong on Saturday evening, but the weather is expected to deteriorate rapidly at around midnight, warned the Hong Kong Observatory.

Moreover, Mangkhut will further gain strength in the open waters of South China Sea and become a Cat 4 Typhoon.

After blasting the Philippines, Mangkhut is predicted to hurtle towards China's heavily populated southern coast this weekend.

Hong Kong's flagship carrier has already cancelled more than 400 flights in the next three days.

Typhoon Mangkhut, one day after it made landfall as the strongest storm to hit the the Philippines in five years, has killed at least 16 people, an official said Saturday.

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