New Delhi: The world’s strongest storm this year slammed into the eastern Philippines with ferocious winds early Sunday, as it made landfall over the island province of Catanduanes at dawn, before weakening as it crossed the main island of Luzon. Also Read - Hillary Clinton’s DNC Speech Was More of a Donald Trump Roast, Much Like All of DNC
Typhoon Goni is the strongest storm recorded anywhere in the world so far this year and it hit Catanduanes with sustained winds of 225 kilometres (140 miles) per hour and gusts of 280 kph (174 mph) equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. It also slammed the region by knocking down power in several towns and prompting the evacuation of about a million people in its likely path, including in the capital where the main airport was shut down. Also Read - Khizr Khan's Speech at DNC Stirs Emotions, Sparks Response From Donald Trump
According to a report, a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections and co-founder of Weather Underground, Jeff Masters said, “Goni is the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone in history. The previous record was held by Super Typhoons Meranti and Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2016 and 2013 respectively.” Also Read - China on red alert for super typhoon Dujuan
The storm was blowing west toward densely populated regions, including Manila, and rain-soaked provinces still recovering from a typhoon that hit a week ago and left at least 22 dead. There were also initial reports of deaths, including a man who was reportedly pinned by a fallen tree in Albay province, but authorities said they were still verifying the details.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara told a televised meeting of top disaster-response officials that at least two people died in his province while mudflows from Mayon volcano endangered some villagers. Other officials, however, said they were still checking those reports.
The government’s disaster-response agency head, Ricardo Jalad said that the typhoon’s destructive force can cause major damage. There are so many people who are really in vulnerable areas.
The Philippine weather agency reinforced those concerns, saying that within the next 12 hours, people will experience catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall associated with the region of the eyewall and inner rain bands.
Residents have also been warned of likely landslides, massive flooding, storm surges of up to 5 metres (16 feet) and powerful winds that can blow away shanties.
One of the most powerful typhoons in the world this year, Goni has evoked memories of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which left more than 7,300 people dead and missing, flattened entire villages, swept ships inland and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines.
Forecasters said the typhoon’s eye may pass about 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of metropolitan Manila, the sprawling capital of more than 13 million people, around nightfall on Sunday.
Manila’s main airport was ordered shut down for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday and airlines cancelled dozens of international and domestic flights. The military and national police, along with the coast guard, have been put on full alert.
The Philippines is lashed by about 20 typhoons and storms a year. It’s also located in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common and makes the poor Southeast Asian nation one of the world’s most disaster-prone.
(With Agency Inputs)