(CNN)At least two people have been killed by Typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, which slammed into the Philippines early Saturday morning, bringing ferocious gale-force winds and pounding rains.
Both victims were women, killed when a rain-drenched hillside collapsed on them, according to the French news agency AFP.Mangkhut, the strongest storm of 2018 so far made landfall on the northern tip of the island of Luzon, at about 1:40 a.m. local time.A woman in the Phillipines holds her umbrella during heavy rains caused by Typhoon Mangkhut 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. Although the death toll is likely to increase, there was some relief in the Philippines that the damage was not as bad as feared. Read More”Honestly, we were expecting the worst from this,” Edgar Posadas, a spokesperson for the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) told CNN.”I was praying and hoping and worried about having so much casualties. But I think after Yolanda, after Haiyan [the international name for Yolanda], there were a lot of lessons that were learned in terms of preparedness, early warnings, preemptive evacuations… and this went a long way.” Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA man is hit by a wave while attempting to recover salvageable materials in Manila, Philippines, Saturday, September 15.Hide Caption 1 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutAn elderly Filipino woman is seen in the typhoon-hit town of Aparri, Philippines.Hide Caption 2 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA father transfers his sick child to another vehicle after the ambulance carrying them was blocked by electrical poles in the town of Baggao, north of Manila.Hide Caption 3 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutCrews work to clear a road of debris in Baggao.Hide Caption 4 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutMotorists negotiate a flooded street in Manila.Hide Caption 5 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutChildren collect recyclable materials washed ashore in Manila.Hide Caption 6 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA motorist tries to avoid a flooded Manila street in Manila.Hide Caption 7 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutResidents walk along destroyed stalls at a public market in Tuguegrao, Philippines.Hide Caption 8 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutCommuters push a car through flood waters in Manila on September 15. Hide Caption 9 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutMotorists push their motor bikes through a flooded street in Manila on September 15. Hide Caption 10 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutCommuters brave the rain and strong winds in Manila.Hide Caption 11 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutStrong winds and rain batter houses and buildings in Tuguegarao.Hide Caption 12 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutStreet sweepers go about their daily business as rain and strong winds batter Manila.Hide Caption 13 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutGuests sleep inside a hotel restaurant after the roof of their room was damaged by strong winds in Tuguegarao.Hide Caption 14 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutHeavy rain falls in Tuguegarao.Hide Caption 15 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutOfficials conduct a patrol in Aparri ahead of Typhoon Mangkhut landfall on Friday, September 14.Hide Caption 16 of 31 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 September 14.Hide Caption 17 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA farmer gathers his herd of cows to a safe place in Tuguegarao.Hide Caption 18 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutFilipino fishermen secure a boat in the town of Aparri.Hide Caption 19 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutVillagers from Aparri cut tree branches on September 14 in preparation for the massive storm’s arrival.Hide Caption 20 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutAn evacuee rests inside an evacuation center in Tuguegarao on September 14.Hide Caption 21 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA volunteer moves through relief goods September 14 as Tuguegarao prepares for the typhoon’s arrival.Hide Caption 22 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutResidential buildings in Hong Kong are reflected in a McDonald’s restaurant window, taped in preparation for Typhoon Mangkhut, on September 14. Hong Kong and Macau are currently in the typhoon’s path.Hide Caption 23 of 31 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 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutPeople secure the roof of a house in Tuguegarao on September 14.Hide Caption 25 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutA worker steps over sandbags ahead of the typhoon’s arrival in Hong Kong on September 14.Hide Caption 26 of 31 Photos: In photos: Super Typhoon MangkhutFishermen work amid the rough seas near Aparri on September 14.Hide Caption 27 of 31 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 28 of 31 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 29 of 31 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 30 of 31 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 31 of 31More than 6,000 people died when Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines five years ago, the worst in a generation. That storm displaced nearly 4 million people. Many of the survivors ran short of food, water and medicine almost immediately.But as Typhoon Mangkhut passes over the south-eastern nation, there are still fears more could have perished. Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, told CNN that the casualties were rescue workers and that there had been 51 landslides across the region as a result of the storm which is now pounding the Philippines with heavy rain.Mangkhut’s eye is now over water in the South China Sea and making its way toward Hong Kong and southern China. Rescue workers clear a road of debris and toppled electric posts in Cagayan province, north of Manila on Saturday.The latest information from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center has Mangkhut with sustained winds of 195 kph with gusts near 240 kph.It forecasts the storm will pass around 150 km (95 miles) south of Hong Kong as it moves to the northwest with typhoon-force winds.Heavy rain and winds are expected in Hong Kong during the morning hours, picking up in intensity through early afternoon and not tapering off until early Monday morning. Typhoon Mangkhut will make another landfall on Sunday night in the Chinese province of Guandong near the cities of Yangjiang and Zhanjiang. From there the system will continue to move westward and will rain itself out over northern Vietnam, which could lead to some flooding there early next week. Meanwhile, the death toll is expected to rise in the Philippines as Mangkhut leaves a wake of destruction and landslides.The 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 Manila once the weather improves, Lorenzana said, carrying aid and allowing rescuers to reach 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.
— Philippine Red Cross (@philredcross) September 14, 2018 The Governor of Cagayan, Manuel Maamba said emergency services are clearing debris from main roads. 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. 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.
— Rex Remitio (@RexRemitio) September 14, 2018 “There was plywood and shards of glass flying through the corridors,” storm chaser James Reynolds, who was in a hotel in Santa Ana, in Cagayan, 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.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. 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 in lost 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 impactMeanwhile people in the densly populated areas of Hong Kong, Macau and Southern China were hunkering down as they waited for the storm to hit. 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.