MANILA, Philippines—Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan) maintained its strength midday Thursday as it headed towards Eastern Visayas.
Storm signals were raised in about 40 areas of the country, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration said.
Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Siargao Island, and Dinagat
Signal No. 2
Sorsogon, Masbate, Ticao, Northern Samar, Biliran, Bantayan and Camotes Is., Northern Cebu including Cebu City, Bohol, Surigao del Norte, Camiguin, Surigao del Sur, and Agusan del Norte
Signal No. 1
Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Burias Island, Romblon, Marinduque, Calamian, Southern Quezon, Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, rest of Cebu, Siquijor, Misamis Oriental, and Agusan del Sur
Under Signal No. 3, heavy damage to agriculture could be expected, Pagasa said, adding that large trees could be uprooted.
It could also cause disruption to power and communication lines. Travel by land, sea and air is dangerous.
Areas under storm signals were warned of possible flashfloods and landslides. Those living in coastal areas under Signal No. 2 and 3 were alerted against storm surges, which may reach up to seven meters in height.
Yolanda, dubbed by US meteorologists as the strongest typhoon in the world for 2013, is expected to make landfall in Eastern Visayas Friday morning.
The typhoon was last located based on all available data at 637 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur or 738 kilometers southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
It maintained its maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 250 kph. It is forecast to move west northwest at a speed of 30 kph.
Yolanda, after hitting Guiuan, is expected to traverse the provinces of Leyte, Biliran, northern tip of Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Semirara Island, Southern part of Mindoro then Busuanga and will exit the Philippine landmass Saturday Morning towards the West Philippine Sea, Pagasa said.
Heavy to intense rains were expected within the 600 kilometer-diameter of the typhoon.