By Neil Jerome Morales
MANILA (Reuters) -Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos declared suspension of government work and classes for Monday as a category 3 tropical storm barrelled through the main island Luzon after making landfall northeast of the capital Manila.
Nearly 8,400 people were pre-emptively evacuated from the path of Typhoon Noru, which further weakened with sustained winds of 175 kilometres (108 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 290 kph (180 mph) after making landfall, the state weather agency said in its latest advisory.
Flights were cancelled, ferries halted and bus routes shut as heavy rains and strong winds toppled trees and power lines.
Marcos suspended classes and work in Luzon, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy and roughly half of the country’s 110 million population.
The energy ministry placed on high alert all energy-related facilities in typhoon-affected areas, Marcos said on Facebook.
The Philippine Stock Exchange said trading would be suspended on Monday as heavy to torrential rains drench the capital region and nearby provinces.
“Utility posts fell and homes made of light materials near coastlines were damaged,” Nelson Egargue, disaster chief of Aurora province where Noru made landfall, told DZRH radio station.
Waves whipped up by the category 3 typhoon were battering ports, photos and videos on social media showed, and low-lying areas were flooded.
“The wind is calmer now but it’s dark because we have no power supply,” Eliseo Ruzol, mayor of coastal General Nakar town adjacent to Noru’s landfall location, told DZRH.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, sees an annual average of 20 tropical storms that cause floods and landslides. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, killed 6,300 people.
Noru, which is moving westward over rice-producing provinces in Luzon, is likely to emerge over the South China Sea by early Monday.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by William Mallard, Robert Birsel, Peter Graff, Toby Chopra)