Super Typhoon Noru Heads for Philippines After ‘Explosive’ Surge
MANILA — Super Typhoon Noru was on course to slam into the densely populated main island of Luzon in the Philippines on Sunday, with forecasters warning of heavy rains and winds that could cause devastating flooding and landslides.
Noru, which is called Karding locally, is likely to make landfall in Aurora Province on the country’s eastern seaboard late in the afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
Noru reached “super typhoon category after a period of explosive intensification,” the agency said. Low-lying areas were warned of a very high risk of storm surge, particularly in the remote Polillo Islands, as well as in Aurora Province.
Some parts of Luzon — home to some 64 million people, including in metropolitan Manila and outlying suburbs — are also expected to experience heavy rains that could inundate large areas. Luzon makes up the northern third of the country.
The country’s disaster response agency recommended “pre-emptive evacuation in high-risk areas,” and many emergency supplies were placed in schools in the storm’s path that were expected to be converted into evacuation sites.
Mario Lastares, 34, who sells citrus fruits at the Zapote market in Bacoor city, south of Manila, said he would pack up early, go home and start to fortify his little shanty by the river. He planned to stay behind to protect belongings but have his family go to a community shelter nearby.
“We don’t want another Ondoy,” he said, referring to a storm also known as Ketsana, which dumped heavy rains across Manila in 2009, causing extensive flooding and hundreds of deaths. Coincidentally, this week’s typhoon was likely to hit a day shy of the 13th anniversary of Ketsana’s landfall in the Philippines.
Mr. Lastares said he remembered that many were caught unprepared by Ketsana, with neighbors using empty plastic gallons and containers as flotation devices. “We were lucky to have survived that,” he said.
The Philippines is in the Pacific typhoon belt and is struck by an average of 20 storms a year, some of which are devastating. The most powerful storm to hit the country in recent history, Haiyan, was also a super typhoon with winds of at least 150 m.p.h. It ravaged the central Philippines in 2013, causing gigantic storm surges and flooding that left more than 6,000 dead.
The terms typhoon, hurricane and cyclone all refer to tropical cyclones; the term applied to a given storm depends on where it originates. Typhoons develop in the northwestern Pacific and usually affect Asia. Hurricanes form in the North Atlantic, the northeastern Pacific, the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico.
In the Atlantic, major hurricanes are defined as tropical cyclones with maximum sustained winds of 111 m.p.h. or higher and are defined as either Category 3, 4 and 5 storms. But in the Asia Pacific region, there are variations in how individual countries grade typhoons.
The links between tropical storms and climate change are becoming more apparent. Although warming may not lead to more such storms, researchers have found that it has increased the frequency of major ones because a warmer ocean provides more of the energy that fuels them.