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Strengthening Typhoon Haima to aim for the Philippines with destructive winds, flooding

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Following deadly flooding caused by Typhoon Sarika, the Philippines brace for another blow by a powerful typhoon late this week.

Haima, referred to as Pepito in the Philippines, quickly strengthened over the weekend, reaching Typhoon status on Sunday morning, local time.

On Monday night, local time, Typhoon Haima had sustained winds over 210 km/h (130 mph), equivalent to wind speeds of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean.

Even further strengthening is expected as Haima moves across the Pacific and approaches northern parts of the Philippines, with the potential for the storm to become a super typhoon by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Haima is forecast to track over the northern part of Luzon in the northern Philippines. Landfall on the eastern coast of Luzon is likely to occur on Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday night.

It could make landfall with wind gusts over 275 km/h (173 mph), causing major damage to areas in its path. Winds of this magnitude are capable of major structural damage, including completely removing exterior walls and roofs.

The extremely strong winds in combination with the torrential rains will down trees and may cause widespread power outages that could linger even after the storm has passed.

Some places across Luzon received over 400 mm (16 inches) of rain when Sarika moved through a short time ago, further increasing the risk for major flooding across the region.

With Haima, new rainfall amounts of 75-150 mm (3-6 inches) are expected through the middle of the week. This additional rain will escalate the risk for mudslides, especially in the higher elevations.

Coastal areas north of Haima's center will also need to watch for coastal flooding. In combination with gusty, onshore winds and high tides, feet of water could inundate areas near the coast.

Interaction with land will weaken Haima as it emerges into the South China sea on Thursday. However, it will still remain a violent tropical system as it approaches China.

Even through the center of the storm is expected to track well to the south of Taiwan, bands of heavy rain could trigger flash flooding in the southeastern portion of the country on Thursday.

A final landfall is expected in southeastern China at the end of the week. Impacts in Hong Kong are possible. Residents in this area should continue to monitor Haima.