Typhoon Cimaron blew over the northern Philippines today, leaving at least 10 people dead, felling trees, downing power lines and blasting roofs off homes, officials said.
Cimaron, the second typhoon to hit the northern Philippines in as many months, was packing maximum sustained winds of 109 mph and gusts of up to 130 mph.
“This is probably one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit the country,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said at a news conference.
Cimaron was forecast to head toward Vietnam later today.
Nearly 30 northern and northeastern provinces, home to about 1.7 million people, were placed under a storm alert; school classes and government work were canceled. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on a visit to China, called for prayers Sunday. Domestic flights to the north also were canceled.
Although the typhoon did not appear to be drenching the mudslide-prone area as badly as feared, rising rivers made some bridges impassable. Officials said water would be released from two major dams to prevent them from overflowing.
The typhoon threatened commemorations for All Saints’ Day on Wednesday, a public holiday when millions travel to cemeteries to remember their dead, some leaving days in advance for outlying provinces. Officials warned people to cancel trips to threatened areas.
Last month, Typhoon Xangsane left 230 people dead and missing as it ripped through Manila and neighboring provinces. About 20 typhoons or tropical storms hit the country each year.