Santiago, Isabela province, the Philippines (CNN)Super Typhoon Mangkhut slammed into the Philippines in the early hours of Saturday, bringing ferocious gale-force winds and pounding rains, as aid agencies warned millions are at risk from rising flood waters and landslides.
Mangkhut was the strongest storm anywhere on the planet in 2018, carrying gusts of up to 325 kilometers per hour (200 mph) before it made landfall in Cagayan province, on the northern tip of Luzon, about 1:40 a.m. local time.When it crossed land, Mangkhut was packing winds of up to 270 kph (165 mph), 120 kph (75 mph) stronger than Hurricane Florence that hit North Carolina on the same day.After the center of the storm passed the Philippines, Mangkhut’s winds slowed enough for the typhoon to lose its “super” status, but it remains a very powerful storm system with maximum sustained winds of 215 kph (134 mph), equivalent to a category 4 hurricane.It’s now pounding the Philippines with heavy rain, and heading west into the South China Sea toward Hong Kong and southern China. Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA man is hit by a wave while attempting to recover salvageable materials in Manila Bay, Manila, Philippines, Saturday, September 15, 2018.Hide Caption 1 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA elderly Filipino woman is seen in the typhoon-hit town of Aparri, Cagayan province, Philippines, Saturday, September 15, 2018. Hide Caption 2 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutMotorists negotiate a flooded street following heavy rains and strong winds from Typhoon Mangkhut on Saturday, September 15, in Manila, Philippines. Hide Caption 3 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutChildren collect recyclable materials washed ashore by strong waves caused by Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Manila on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Hide Caption 4 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA motorist tries to avoid a flooded Manila street at the onslaught of Typhoon Mangkhut which barreled into northeastern Philippines Saturday, September 15, 2018 in Manila, Philippines. Hide Caption 5 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutResidents walk along destroyed stalls at a public market due to strong winds as Typhoon Mangkhut barreled across Tuguegrao city in Cagayan province, northeastern Philippines on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Hide Caption 6 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutCommuters push a car through flood waters in Manila, Philippines, on September 15. Hide Caption 7 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutMotorists push their motor bikes through a flooded street in Manila, Philippines, on September 15. Hide Caption 8 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutCommuters brave the rain and strong winds in Manila, Philippines, on September 15. Hide Caption 9 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutRains cover Tuguegarao City, Philippines, as strong winds batter houses and buildings in the path of Typhoon Mangkhut as it makes landfall on Saturday, September 15.Hide Caption 10 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutStreet sweepers go about their daily business as rain and strong winds batter Manila, Philippines, on September 15. Hide Caption 11 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutGuests sleep inside a hotel restaurant after the roof of their room was damaged by strong winds in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan province, northeastern Philippines on September 15. Hide Caption 12 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutHeavy rain falls in Tuguegarao City, northern Philippines. Super Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall Saturday and officials have ordered evacuations and school closures with millions of people in the storms predicted path. The category five storm would be the strongest to hit this year, with wind gusts already at 270 kilometres an hour. (Photo by Jes Aznar/Getty Images)Hide Caption 13 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutFilipino village officials conduct patrol in the town of Aparri, ahead of Typhoon Mangkhut landfall in the region, in Cagayan province, Philippines, 14 September 2018. Philippines braced for the arrival of Typhoon Mangkhut, ranked as the most powerful storm of the year to enter the Philippines, as it was expected to hit the northern island of Luzon. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG Francis R. MalasigHide Caption 14 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA satellite image with land graphic borders shows the width and trajectory of Typhoon Mangkhut as it approaches the Philippines, on Friday, September 14.Hide Caption 15 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA farmer gathers his herd of cows to a safe place as Super Typhoon Mangkhut approaches the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, north of Manila on September 14, 2018. – Preparations were in high gear in the Philippines on September 14 with Super Typhoon Mangkhut set to make a direct hit in less than 24 hours, packing winds up to 255 kilometres per hour and drenching rains. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP) (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images) Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty ImagesHide Caption 16 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA motorcyclist maneuvers through a flooded area as rains from Super Typhoon Mangkhut begin to affect Tuguegarao City, Philippines, on Friday, September 14.Hide Caption 17 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutFilipino fishermen secure a boat in the town of Aparri in Cagayan province on September 14.Hide Caption 18 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutVillagers from Aparri cut tree branches on September 14 in preparation for the massive storm’s arrival.Hide Caption 19 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutAn evacuee rests inside an evacuation center in Tuguegarao City on September 14.Hide Caption 20 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA volunteer moves through relief goods September 14 as Tuguegarao City prepares for the typhoon’s arrival.Hide Caption 21 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutResidents make their way through heavy rains in Tuguegarao City on September 14.Hide Caption 22 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutResidential buildings in Hong Kong are reflected in a McDonald’s restaurant window, taped in preparation for Super Typhoon Mangkhut, on September 14. Hong Kong and Macau are currently in the typhoon’s path.Hide Caption 23 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutWorkers lay sandbags at the waterfront of the Lei Yue Mun area of Hong Kong on September 14.Hide Caption 24 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutEvacuees head inside an evacuation center in Tuguegarao City, Philippines, on September 14.Hide Caption 25 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutPeople secure the roof of a house in Tuguegarao City on September 14.Hide Caption 26 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA worker steps over sandbags ahead of the typhoon’s arrival in Hong Kong on September 14.Hide Caption 27 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutFishermen work amid the rough seas near Aparri, Philippines, on September 14.Hide Caption 28 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives for a government briefing on the typhoon at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Quezon City on Thursday, September 13.Hide Caption 29 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutDuterte, second from left, observes the disaster agency’s operation center in action in Manila on September 13.Hide Caption 30 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutHigh-rises are visible above choppy waters in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai District on Wednesday, September 12.Hide Caption 31 of 32 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutSailors remove debris on a US naval base in Guam on Tuesday, September 11, after the typhoon swept through the island territory, causing flooding and power outages.Hide Caption 32 of 32Read MoreThe Philippines military is sending two C-130 airplanes and 10 helicopters to Cagayan province for typhoon relief and rescue efforts, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Saturday, according to Philippine News Agency (PNA).They’ll fly from metro Manila once the weather improves, Lorenzana said, carrying aid and allowing rescuers to access remote areas of the mountainous north.Earlier, in the provincial capital Tuguegarao, strong winds lashed buildings, pulling off entire roofs and throwing large chunks of debris into the air. The Governor of Cagayan, Manuel Maamba told CNN there are no reports of casualties, so far. The biggest immediate issue for emergency services remains clearing debris from main roads, said Maamba. Power and communication lines are also down, making it hard to contact more remote areas and assess damage. Tuguegarao airport in northern Luzon, a vital transportation hub, has also been damaged, potentially complicating efforts to bring in humanitarian aid. Tuguerarao airport was damaged as Super Typhoon Mangkhut swept past the Philippines.The Philippines Red Cross said waters were rising in parts of Tuguegarao. Video on social media showed people in the city wading through ankle deep water, amid torrential rains.
— Philippine Red Cross (@philredcross) September 14, 2018 Storm chaser James Reynolds, who was in a hotel in Santa Ana, in Cagayan, when the storm hit, described how the winds ripped through the hotel’s interior, leaving it uninhabitable.”There was plywood and shards of glass flying through the corridors,” Reynolds told CNN. “It must be hell for the people out there living in huts and fragile homes, must be terrifying.”Many of those in Northern Luzon live in isolated farming communities. There are fears the typhoon could lead to flash flooding in more rural areas, triggering landslides.
— Rex Remitio (@RexRemitio) September 14, 2018 An estimated 5.2 million people in the Philippines were within 125 kilometers (77 miles) of the projected path of the Super Typhoon, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.The scale of the typhoon could be felt in the Philippines capital Manila, more than 340 km (200 miles) from the eye of the storm, where heavy overnight rains have led to widespread flooding in urban areas. View this post on Instagram
Potential storm surgesMangkhut is the strongest storm to make landfall in the Philippines since Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which left more than 6,000 people dead, though Haiyan hit a more populated part of the country.It’s also the strongest to make landfall on the Philippines’ northern island of Luzon since Super Typhoon Megi in 2010. Northern Luzon was also devastated in 2016 by Super Typhoon Haima, with 14,000 houses destroyed and 50,000 homes damaged, according to CNN Philippines.Before the storm’s arrival Friday, parts of Luzon were placed under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 4 by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), meaning those areas could expect winds of up to 185 kilometers per hour (114 mph) that could uproot trees, destroy crops, take out electricity and damage buildings. The agency had warned of storm surges up to 19 feet along the Cagayan and Isabela province coastlines.At 11:00 a.m. local time, authorities warned of potential storm surges up to six meters high in Ilocos Norte, as Mangkhut moved further off the coast. As of Friday morning, 2,298 families had been preemptively evacuated from their homes in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Cordillera administrative regions in northern Luzon. More than 5,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas in Isabela province, according to Gov. Bojie Dy.The Philippines Red Cross said it had activated 30,000 volunteers across Luzon to prepare for the impact of the storm and dispatched a “humanitarian caravan” consisting of rescue and relief vehicles to the parts of the island expected to be among the worst affected. Officials told CNN Philippines the cost to rice and corn crops could be upward of $116 million, with more than 1,220,000 hectares of fields expected to be damaged by the storm. JUST WATCHEDTyphoons vs. hurricanes: What’s the difference?ReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH
Typhoons vs. hurricanes: What’s the difference? 00:49Southern China braces for impactOnce it passes over the Philippines, Mangkhut will continue west through the Luzon Strait into the South China Sea towards Hong Kong. As of 1 p.m. local time, the Hong Kong Observatory estimated the typhoon had maximum sustained winds of up to 195 kph (120 mph), equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. It was 730 kilometers (450 miles) southeast of the city and moving at 30 kph (18.6 mph) towards the coast of western Guangdong.Mangkhut could be one of the strongest storms to have an impact on Hong Kong in more than six decades. The typhoon will make its closest pass to Hong Kong during the day on Sunday, likely during the afternoon.Officials in Hong Kong held emergency meetings Friday, and residents in low-lying areas and outlying islands have been urged to move to temporary shelters. Macau’s Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau warned that Manghkut would “pose a serious threat” to the Pearl River Delta, where the city is located.Last year, 10 people died in Macau as a result of Typhoon Hato, the strongest storm to hit the city in more than five decades. It caused widespread flooding and damage to property.Typhoon Mangkhut will make another landfall on Sunday night in western Guangdong, China.Correction: This story has been updated to correct the time Mangkhut made landfall in the Philippines.