Residents crowd a grocery store to buy essential goods in Legaspi, Albay province, south of Manila ahead of Typhoon Goni
Residents crowd a grocery store to buy essential goods in Legaspi, Albay province, south of Manila ahead of Typhoon Goni
PIC: AFP

Nearly a million people in the Philippines were evacuated from their homes Saturday as the most powerful typhoon of the year so far barrelled towards the country, with authorities warning of "destructive" winds and flooding.

Goni, with maximum winds of 215 km per hour and gusts of up to 265 km per hour, moved closer to the eastern coast of the main island of Luzon on Saturday at 20 km per hour from the Pacific Ocean, reports Xinhua news agency.

PAGASA, the country's weather bureau, forecasted that Goni would make landfall in Quezon province, southeast of Manila, on Sunday.

"There remains a possibility that this typhoon will reach Super Typhoon category over the next 12 hours," the bureau said in its latest severe weather bulletin, warning of potential flooding and landslide in its path.

The bureau alerted the residents of many regions in the Philippines' main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, to prepare, warning that Goni "will bring heavy to intense rains", destructive winds and a storm surge of up to 3 metres.

It warned the surge may "result in life-threatening and damaging coastal inundation," adding "This storm surge may be accompanied by swells and breaking waves reaching the coast."

The Philippine Coast Guard said no vessels are allowed to sail, stranding passengers and goods in ports in the Bicol region and Eastern Visayas province, which are in the path of the typhoon.

Police forces were deployed in areas in Typhoon Goni's path to help local government units in the evacuations, Philippine National Police chief General Camilo Cascolan said.

Meanwhile, the state weather bureau said it is also tracking Tropical Depression Atsani churning in the Pacific Ocean 1,655 km east of southern Luzon.

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