Deadly Typhoon Cimaron Batters Philippines

Typhoon Cimaron blew over the northern Philippines on Monday, felling trees, toppling power lines, blasting roofs off homes and leaving at least three people dead, officials said.

Cimaron, the second typhoon to hit the northern Philippines in as many months and possibly one of the strongest, was packing maximum winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 210 kph (130 mph).

It was forecast to exit the region in the direction of Vietnam later Monday.

Police in Isabela province, about 330 kilometers (206 miles) northeast of Manila, reported a 29-year-old farmer drowned when his boat overturned amid strong currents.

Radio DZBB reported a mother and child were killed in neighboring Aurora province.

Nearly 30 northern and northeastern provinces were placed under a storm alert, school classes and government work were canceled and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on a visit to China, called for prayers Sunday. Domestic flights to the north also were canceled.

Although the typhoon did not appear to be drenching the mudslide-prone area as badly as feared, rising rivers made some bridges impassable. Officials said water would be released from two major dams to prevent them from overflowing.

The typhoon threatened commemorations for All Saints' Day on Wednesday, a public holiday when millions travel to cemeteries to remember their dead, some leaving days in advance for outlying provinces. Officials warned people to cancel trips to threatened areas.

Cimaron is a Philippine word for wild ox.

Last month, Typhoon Xangsane left 230 people dead and missing as it ripped through Manila and neighboring provinces. About 20 typhoon and tropical storms lash the country each year.