Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated in the central Philippines, where a fierce storm is lashing coastal areas with heavy wind and rain.
Typhoon Melor has killed at least one person, caused power cuts and disrupted transportation after churning across several islands in the archipelago since Monday.
On Tuesday morning, the storm unexpectedly regained force, with its maximum sustained winds rising to 230 kph (145 mph), according to the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
That made it the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane just as it slammed into an area of the western island of Mindoro where tens of thousands of people live.
The storm, known in the Philippines as Nona, hasn’t made any direct hits on major population centers. But it has battered communities along the many coastlines on its path.
Man killed by metal sheet
A man died after being hit by a metal sheet blown by the strong winds in northern Samar, the eastern region where the storm first made landfall, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported, citing regional authorities.
The national disaster management agency said roughly 733,000 people had been pre-emptively evacuated as the storm approached. Thousands more were reported to have been displaced after it struck.
Dozens of flights were canceled, around 7,000 sea travelers were stranded in ports, power was down in more than a dozen areas and many schools were closed, the agency said Tuesday.
Situated in an area of the Western Pacific that some meteorologists describe as a “bowling alley” for tropical cyclones, the Philippines is frequently buffeted by typhoons.
The deadliest to hit the country in recent years was Super Typhoon Haiyan — one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall — which left more than 7,000 people dead or missing in November 2013.