14:56 GMT05 July 2020
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    Weather forecasts have warned of an intense tropical typhoon ‘Hagupit’, currently heading towards the Philippines, threatening thousands of people living in the coastal areas and city of Tacloban.

    MOSCOW, December 4 (Sputnik) – The tropical typhoon is already generating wind gusts of 240 kilometers (149 miles) an hour, and will continue to intensify, as it originated from the Pacific Ocean, and is likely to hit eastern islands on Saturday, reports AFP.

    "Let's prepare for everything,” Philippines President Benigno Aquino said in a televised meeting. Authorities said Hagupit would likely hit or pass near areas that are still recovering  from Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever recorded on land and which killed or left missing more than 7,350 people in November last year.

    In one of the cities devastated by Haiyan, Tacloban, some residents began evacuating from coastal areas which are likely to be hit by Hagupit. People emptied supermarkets of essential supplies.

    A 94-year-old woman, Florentina Azcarga told AFP, "I survived Haiyan. I hope God will save me from Hagupit as well.” She with her extended family of eight moved into a sports stadium in Tacloban, where many people are gathering to face the typhoon.

    Currently, Hagupit is still 700 kilometers from the Philippines, due to the distance the weather forecasters were not able to say exactly where the storm would hit. The government will issue mandatory evacuation directives because the enormous radius of the storm at 700 kilometers will expose millions of people to severe winds and intense rain.

    On Thursday, schools remained closed and ships ordered to stay in port across the eastern Philippines.

    The US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued a warning saying that Hagupit would produce sustained winds of 305 kilometers an hour and gusts of 370 kilometers an hour about the time it reach land. This would make it nearly as powerful as Haiyan, which had sustained winds of 315 kilometers an hour when it crashed into the Philippines, reported by AFP.

    The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 major storms a year, many of them deadly.


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