A typhoon on track to slam the Philippines this weekend could bring "life-threatening flooding" and cause "catastrophic" damage to the island nation, according to media reports. Typhoon Koppu, locally referred to as Lando, had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph Friday and was expected to make landfall by Sunday, the Manila Bulletin reported. The storm was set to strengthen -- and slow down -- the closer it moved to the northern Philippines' Luzon Island.
"Rapid intensification is likely to occur right before Koppu reaches Luzon," AccuWeather reported meteorologist Adam Douty said. "Koppu could become a significant typhoon, possibly the equivalent to a Category 3 or 4 hurricane."
The Philippines could see up to 24 inches of rain as a result, in some places raising the risk of mudslides, according to AccuWeather. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration told residents to look out for storm surges of up to 4 feet as the cyclone travels over the country, CNN reported. "Fisherfolk are advised not to venture out" in certain parts of the sea, the state agency said in a statement.
— Tom Sater (@TomSaterCNN) October 15, 2015
After 2 mos of drought, farmers in Iguig Cagayan take advantage of rains brought by d outer bands of typhoon Lando. pic.twitter.com/D3NYBwuD44
— Raffy Tima (@raffytima) October 16, 2015
About 20 provinces have been put on high alert ahead of the storm's landfall, and soldiers and emergency workers were in place to help care for residents. The United Nations Children’s Fund told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation it had enough relief packages for about 12,000 families.
Koppu was forecast to leave the Philippines by Tuesday, but the region won't get much relief. To the east of Koppu was Tropical Storm Champi, which has been whipping Guam and the Mariana Islands with heavy rains and winds of 70 mph over the past few days. Champi was due to become a typhoon on Saturday, according to the Weather Channel.
Typhoons frequently hit the Philippines -- last year, Hagupit caused 1 million people to evacuate and killed nearly 20 people. The worst storm in recent years was 2013's Typhoon Haiyan, which displaced about 3.9 million and killed more than 6,300.