Typhoon Bopha Sweeps Past Palau, Set To Make Landfall In Philippines Tuesday

on December 03 2012 9:09 AM

Typhoon Bopha, a powerful weather system with its eye set on the Philippines, is threatening to bring a fresh round of devastation to a country that has already suffered a years worth of weather-related destruction.

CNN is reporting that Typhoon Bopha was last spotted heading toward the large Philippine island of Mindanao on Monday, with wind gusts as strong as 210 kph (130 mph).

Bopha is expected to make landfall Tuesday morning on Mindanao's northeast coast, almost a year after a tropical storm devastated the same area, leaving 1,200 people dead.

The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration warned that the typhoon, known locally as Pablo, could bring flash floods and landslides in mountainous and low-lying areas, and big waves and storm surges along coastlines.

The agency advised seven provinces on Mindanao to prepare for likely damage as a result of winds as strong as 185 kph (115 mph), including the destruction of homes made of light materials, uprooting of large trees and disruption of power supplies.

As it made its way toward the large Philippine island, Bopha swept past the tiny island nation of Palau, which is located roughly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) east of Mindanao.

"It was headed right toward Palau," Derek Williams, a meteorologist for the U.S. National Weather Service in Guam said, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. But at the last minute, "it just turned to the west and fortunately went south of them," he said.

"I really think they escaped the brunt of the storm," Williams said, noting that Palau doesn't usually get hit by strong typhoons.

Williams added that Bopha has already brought down a lot of trees and caused widespread power outages in Palau.

"The fast movement of the system really prevented a lot of flooding," he said. "I think probably only a few inches of rain fell, so that's certainly good news, because Palau itself is susceptible to mudslides."

Typhoon Bopha is set to make landfall just weeks ahead of the first anniversary of the arrival over the island of Tropical Storm Washi. The storms heavy rains set off flash floods in the middle of the night that swept away entire villages and left 1,200 people dead.

In addition, severe flooding in the region of the capital, Manila, killed more than 80 people in August, while Tropical Cyclone Son-Tinh left at least 27 people dead after sweeping across the central Philippines in October.

More News from IBT MEDIA