MANILA, Philippines – A super typhoon blamed for the deaths of at least four people on islands in the western Pacific Ocean has weakened after reaching Philippine waters and is expected to further lose strength as it approaches the country's northeastern coast, officials said Thursday.
Esperanza Cayanan, an officer of the government's weather bureau, said as of Thursday morning Typhoon Maysak was 915 kilometers (569 miles) northeast of eastern Borongan city, packing winds of 175 kilometers per hour (109 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 210 kph (124 mph). It is moving northwest at 19 kph (12 mph).
Officials said they had readied rescue teams and relief goods to prepare for Maysak's landfall Saturday evening or early Sunday in northeastern Aurora or Isabela provinces and warned tourists headed to beaches for the Easter holidays to exercise caution.
Storm surges of up to 3 meters (nearly 10 feet) tall are possible in the eastern coast, while moderate to heavy rains are expected within a 200-kilometer (124-mile) radius from the typhoon's eye.
The weather bureau is set to issue a low-level storm warning later Thursday for the eastern provinces, which will suspend sea travel. The military went on alert Wednesday in the northern Philippines.
Cayanan said the storm was expected to weaken further after making landfall, and that it was possible it would be downgraded to a storm or tropical depression as it crosses land.
The typhoon threatens holiday plans in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines, where Filipinos travel to their home provinces and to resorts.