Filipinos are urged to prepare as typhoon "Pablo" (international name "Bopha") is seen to enter the Philippines late Sunday and hit several areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
The typhoon could be the strongest to strike the country so far this year, with the U.S. Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) classifying it early Sunday as a "super typhoon" having winds that could peak at 231 kilometers per hour (kph).
"The typhoon east of Southern Mindanao is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility this evening and will be named 'Pablo,'" the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomic Services Administration (Pag-asa) said in its 11 a.m. bulletin Sunday.
Pablo has maximum sustained winds of 185 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 220 kph, the state weather bureau added.
Its center was last spotted 10 a.m. Sunday at 1,110 kilometers east southest of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.
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"[At] 8 p.m. tonight papasok ito sa Palau, Eastern Mindanao," National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Benito Ramos said in a press briefing.
He added that it is estimated to make landfall at Surigao del Norte or Surigao del Sur.
Areas that are likely to be affected, Ramos said, are Surigao City, Siargao, Dinagat, Bohol, Northern Cebu, Northern Negros, Iloilo, Aklan, Antique, Panay, Capiz.
Davao Oriental may also be hit given the typhoon's diameter of 700 kilometers, Ramos added.
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Areas along the eastern seaboard of Mindanao have meanwhile been warned of a storm surge.
"Ito ay malakas (This will be strong). Do not venture into the sea or near the shoreline," Ramos said.
"Gustiness is at 230 kph. We're expecting that this is going to be a strong one," he added, while noting that the typhoon is seen to weaken at it makes landfall and hits Mt. Diwalwal and Diawata.
A storm surge may impact Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Ramos said.
The public has also been advised to avoid landslide prone areas, such as Guinsaugon and other Leyte areas along Maharlika Highway.
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Pag-asa meanwhile forecast Pablo to move west northwest at 22 kph.
It is expected to be at 660 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur Monday morning, and 230 kilometers east southeast of Surigao City Tuesday morning.
The strongest rain will hit Surigao, Compostela Valley, Davao and the rest of Mindanao Tuesday morning, slowing down and becoming more concentrated in Northen Mindanao in the evening.
The typhoon is seen to be 60 kilometers north of Dumaguete City by Wednesday morning, passing the Mindoro and Palawan area in the evening.
Rains are meanwhile expected to hit Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon Thursday, weakening as it lingers up to Friday.
The Philippines is to upgrade a navy base facing disputed South China Sea waters to serve the extra ships being acquired to protect its territory, the military said Thursday. Navy spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Gregory Fabic said the military would build a 500-million-peso ($11.2 million) port at Ulugan Bay, the Philippine military base nearest to the Spratly Islands. President Benigno Aquino is set to visit the base on May 20 to launch the upgrading, Fabic added. In recent years, the …