MANILA, Philippines -- Tropical storm Melor headed out to sea, leaving 11 dead in the Philippines, as a new storm approached the southern island of Mindanao. As of 4 a.m. in the Philippines (3 p.m. EST), Melor -- locally known as Nona -- was in the South China Sea, about 37 miles west of the main island of Luzon, according to the Philippine weather agency. Melor was downgraded from a typhoon as it weakened.
Five other people were missing, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. Of the dead, five were killed in northern Samar province, where the typhoon first hit Monday, and six died in Romblon and Mindoro islands.
A storm surge of about 13 feet high hit Mabuhay, Samar, Monday afternoon and destroyed 259 coastal homes. But residents were saved by pre-evacuation, the Inquirer reported. Big storm surges are rare in the Philippines, leaving many unprepared when Typhoon Haiyan brought surges of over 20 feet to Leyte, which is just south of Samar, in 2013. Haiyan left more than 7,000 dead, mostly in Leyte and Samar. Authorities have enforced evacuations more strictly since then.
The typhoon cut power and communications lines, destroyed or closed roads and bridges and grounded planes and ships. It may take months to restore power in some areas, authorities said. It also caused floods in places as far as Manila, which was north of its path, leaving many motorists stuck on the road for hours Tuesday night and many commuters stranded.
Meanwhile, a new tropical depression was heading to the island of Mindanao and was expected to be close to Surigao, the northeastern tip of the island, by Friday evening.
The Philippines is one of the most typhoon-vulnerable countries in the world, getting hit by about 20 every year. Haiyan's death toll made it the country's worst natural disaster since a 1976 tsunami. Koppu left more than 50 dead in October.