MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon Parma slammed into the Philippines on Saturday, knocking down trees and power pylons with powerful winds and pelting the already sodden country with more heavy rain. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The storm — the country's second in eight days — roared ashore in the northern province of Cagayan at mid afternoon after picking up speed as it swirled toward the coast, said chief government forecaster Nathaniel Cruz.
It was cutting a path across the northeastern tip of the main island of Luzon and was headed in the direction of Taiwan, where evacuations of southern villages were under way.
Tens of thousands of people were moved to safe ground across the Philippines ahead of the typhoon, which came on the heels of another storm on Sept. 26 that killed at least 288 people in the worst flooding in four decades in the Southeast Asian country.
But Parma was not expected to cause as much damage as the earlier storm, Ketsana. It changed course overnight Friday and largely bypassed Manila, the capital, which in many parts was still under chest-deep water.
Trees were uprooted and power poles toppled in the provincial capital of Tuguegarao, Cagayan local government official Bonifacio Cuarteros told The Associated Press by telephone. In neighboring Isabella, gusting winds knocked a rider off his motorcycle, and trees and billboards were blown down.
"We pray that we won't have a worse outcome, but with this kind of situation, we cannot really say," Cuarteros said.
Parma was packing sustained winds of 108 mph and heavy rain, the national weather bureau said.
Weather bureau chief Prisco Nilo warned the rain could trigger landslides and flooding, and strong winds could also create tidal surges "similar to a tsunami" along the eastern coast.
Cruz said earlier the storm's change in direction overnight had lessened the risk of another flood disaster in Manila, but warned the storm was still dangerous in the north.
"It is good news, especially for those whose houses are still under water," Cruz said. "But 175 can still uproot trees and destroy houses and blow down roofs."
Further south, officials began moving back tens of thousands of people who had been evacuated from coastal areas that might have been in the path of the storm.
Taiwan issued a storm warning and began moving people out of villages in the southern county of Kaohsiung, local official Lin Chun-chieh said. Flash floods from the last typhoon to hit the Kaohsiung area killed about 700 people in August.
Last week, Ketsana damaged the homes of more than 3 million people in the Philippines. It went on to hit other Southeast Asian countries, killing 99 in Vietnam, 14 in Cambodia and 16 in Laos.
It was part of more than a week of destruction in the Asia-Pacific region that has claimed more than 1,500 lives so far: an earthquake Wednesday in Indonesia; a tsunami Tuesday in the Samoan islands; and Typhoon Ketsana across Southeast Asia.