Typhoon Goni made landfall in the southern part of the Philippine island of Luzon on Sunday, November 1, with maximum sustained winds of 212kph (132mph) as of 08:00 (local time). The storm is the most powerful to hit the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 7000 people in 2013. The provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur in Luzon are under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no.5 warnings (the highest possible), with significant damage expected to all structures, as well as landslides, flooding, sediment-laden streamflows, and storm surges of up to 5 meters (16 feet). Almost one million people have been evacuated in the Bicol region, in eastern Luzon, with thousands more evacuated in at-risk areas, including in Metro Manila, where storm surges of up to three meters (10 feet) may inundate coastal areas in Manila Bay. Metro Manila is under a Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal no.4 warning, with the storm expected to pass over the city late on Sunday or early on Monday. A level 4 warning indicates a forecast of winds of more than 171kmh (106mph), and that significant damage is likely to all but the strongest buildings, which may still see some damage. Manila's main airport, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL), has been closed for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday in anticipation of the storm. Further information regarding weather warnings and forecasts can be found here.
Goni comes a week after Typhoon Molave, which followed a path similar to that predicted for Goni and killed 22 people in the provinces south of Manila. Another tropical storm, Atsani, is building strength to the east of the Philippines and is expected to affect the north of Luzon island.
Associated disruptions to transport, business, and utilities are possible over the coming days as the storm system passes.
Tropical depressions, storms, and typhoons typically hit Eastern Visayas as well as Southern, Central, and Northern Luzon during the typhoon season between June and November. However, a number of storm systems in the past years have also affected Central and Western Visayas, as well as eastern, northern, central, and western Mindanao, and have reached the country outside the typhoon season. Local meteorologists attribute these changes to climate change. In general, approximately 19 storms and typhoons enter the country's area of responsibility every year, and PAGASA reports that at least six weather systems make a direct landfall.
These storm systems have the potential to unleash heavy downpours and powerful winds, as well as trigger a major storm surge that pose considerable hazards to human life and infrastructure. Despite a credible risk, the Philippines has inadequate preparedness and crisis response that increases the impact of storm systems on human communities, strategic infrastructure as well as travel and service delivery.
Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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