Typhoon Usagi gaining strength as it approaches northern Philippines, southern Taiwan

A strong typhoon is approaching the northern Philippines and southern Taiwan and is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to both regions.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said Thursday afternoon that Typhoon Usagi was about 900 kilometers (560 miles) southeast of Taiwan's southernmost Hengchun peninsula and moving northwest into the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan and the Philippines at 12 kph (8 mph).

Packing winds of 173 kph (108 mph) and gusts of 209 kph (131 mph), Usagi is strengthening into one of the biggest storms of the season, with the eye expected to pass south of Taiwan.

The storm is expected to begin bringing heavy rain to the northern Philippines and southern Taiwan on Friday.

It is expected to make landfall Monday at China's Pearl River Delta.