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Classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, Mangkhut accelerated while slightly weakening to maximum winds of 240 kilometers per hour compared with 250 kilometers per hour earlier on Thursday.

Mangkhut, locally known as super typhoon Ompong, has already passed the USA territory of Guam, where it caused widespread flooding and power outages.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said by telephone that northern coastal and island villages in the typhoon's projected path will begin evacuating residents on Thursday ahead of the expected onslaught.

As per the state weather bureau, Mangkhut is likely to threaten Northern Luzon and is expected to cross the Cagayan-Batanes area by Saturday and still remain as a typhoon.

Luzon was devastated by Super Typhoon Haima - known as Lawin locally - in 2016, with 14,000 houses destroyed and 50,000 homes damaged, according to CNN Philippines.

The Hong Kong government convened a meeting on Wednesday to review contingency plans.

While Mangkhut is now stronger than Hato -- also known as Tropical Storm Isang -- or Haima it is likely to decrease in strength as it nears southern China, particularly if it crosses land over northern Luzon, which will slow the storm, according to Guy, the meteorologist.

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) went on red alert on Thursday, September 13, to monitor areas in the path of Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) and prepare for disaster response.

"I'm stressing that this one is very different, this is more complicated because of possible storm surges", Mamba said, referring to giant waves whipped inland by a typhoon.

Up to 43.3 million people from Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the Philippines and China could be affected by the super typhoon, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

The storm, which is the strongest to hit the Philippines this year, is also threatening farmlands in Luzon just before the rice and corn harvest. In the territory, frequent strong winds and showers could occur and serious floods could caused by storm surge in lower areas, ' the SMG told MNA.

Its next destination is the Philippines, which on average sees 20 tropical storms a year.

"Although there are still uncertainties in its track, Mangkhut is expected to bring adverse weather to Hong Kong on Sunday with frequent squalls and heavy rain according to the present forecast track". The center of Mangkhut will make its closest approach to Taipei on Sept 15 and Hong Kong on Sept 16.


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