It is becoming a daily occurrence: temperature, precipitation and storm records are being broken:
Hong Kong (CNN) — An intense typhoon thumped into the southern Philippines on Tuesday, destroying homes, setting off a landslide and killing at least three people, authorities said.
Typhoon Bopha struck the large southern island of Mindanao, which is rarely in the direct path of tropical cyclones, fueling fears that it could be as devastating as a storm that killed more than 1,200 people there almost a year ago.
Bopha, the most powerful typhoon to hit Mindanao in decades, packed top winds of 175 kph (110 mph) as it came ashore over the city of Baganga early Tuesday. Millions of people — many of whom live in remote and unprepared communities — were in the storm’s path, Philippine authorities and aid groups said.
“It really is getting to be a very, very big typhoon and it’s just starting,” said Richard Gordon, the head of the Philippine Red Cross.
Trees have been uprooted and fragile houses blown away on Mindanao, Gordon said, adding that the corrugated iron roofs of some buildings were being carried through the air by the wind like “flying machetes.”
Three people have so far been killed as a result of the storm, said Benito Ramos, the head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Two of the deaths were caused by falling trees, Ramos told the official Philippine News Agency.
Fortunately the worst didn’t happen:
Stormy weather in recent months has caused death and destruction in other areas of the Philippines, where poor infrastructure leaves many communities highly vulnerable to the numerous typhoons that hit the country every year.
Severe flooding in the region of the capital, Manila, killed more than 80 people in August. And Tropical Cyclone Son-Tinh left at least 27 people dead after sweeping across the central Philippines in October.
Palau, a tiny island nation roughly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) east of Mindanao, had earlier had a close shave with Bopha as the typhoon churned past, catching some outlying parts of the archipelago.
“It was headed right toward Palau,” said Derek Williams, a meteorologist for the U.S. National Weather Service in Guam. But at the last minute, “it just turned to the west and fortunately went south of them,” he said.
“I really think they escaped the brunt of the storm,” Williams said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, noting that Palau doesn’t usually get hit by strong typhoons.