Typhoon gains speed now set to slam into China
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 17 July, 2014 - The Philippines set to work clearing debris, reconnecting power and rebuilding flattened houses on Thursday after a typhoon swept across the country killing 38 people, with at least eight missing, rescue officials said.
Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, was heading towards China after cutting a path across the main island of Luzon, shutting down the capital and knocking down trees and power lines, causing widespread blackouts.
The storm destroyed about 7,000 houses and damaged 19,000, the executive director of the National Disaster Agency, Alexander Pama, said. More than 530,000 people had taken refuge in evacuation centers, according to official figures.
Disaster officials were still assessing damage but the coconut-growing Quezon province south of Manila appears to have borne the brunt of Rammasun, which intensified into a category 3 typhoon as it crossed the country.
Tropical Storm Risk, which monitors cyclones, has downgraded Rammasun to a category 1 storm on a scale of one to five as it headed northwest towards China.
Pama said on Wednesday the government was more prepared after the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in November, evacuating people at risk in coastal and landslide-prone areas well before the typhoon made landfall.
Typhoon Rammasun now has its sights set on southern China and northern Vietnam. Even though the typhoon weakened from its peak intensity due to interaction with some rugged terrain across the Philippines, rapid intensification occurred on Thursday as cyclone entered an area of lower wind shear.
Intensification will continue in the short term and Rammasun is expected to be the equivalent of a high end Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane within the next six hours.