4th Typhoon in Month Lashes Philippines

(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
The fourth typhoon to lash the Philippines in a month brought pounding rain and winds to the eastern coast early Saturday as it barreled toward Manila along the same path as an earlier storm that has left the capital still partially submerged.

Thousands were evacuated from their homes in the eastern province of Quezon, where Typhoon Mirinae made landfall after midnight, as rains threatened to unleash mudslides.

(Left: Dr. Nathaniel Cruz of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration points to the exact location of Typhoon Mirinae (a.k.a. Santi) during a news briefing Friday, Oct. 30, 2009 at Manila's Quezon city.)

Forecaster Rommel Yutuc said the storm slammed ashore early Saturday near Infanta town in Quezon.

Unlike Ketsana, the latest typhoon was moving fast at 15 mph and was projected to move over the country and then away from the Philippines in the direction of Vietnam by later Saturday.

At least 10,000 villagers left their homes near rivers and close to the Mayon volcano in Albay province, said Jukes Nunez, a provincial disaster official. More evacuees were expected overnight at shelters, he added.

Mayon, in the eastern Philippines, is the country's most active volcano and authorities fear that rains might unleash rivers of mud and loose volcanic rock.

Reporting from Manila, CBS News' Barnaby Lo says the Philippine government isn't taking chances this time.

Even before the full effects of Mirinae were felt, classes were suspended, ferries grounded, soldiers deployed in the capital and other provinces, and relief goods pre-positioned in the most vulnerable areas.

In Manila, residents hunkered down in their homes as rains beat down on dark, deserted streets.

The typhoon (known locally as Santi) was expected to pass south of the sprawling city of 12 million later Saturday morning with winds of 93 miles per hour and gusts of up to 115 mph, said chief government forecaster Nathaniel Cruz.

The state-run weather bureau said that Typhoon Mirinae will bring less rain and more wind when it makes landfall. This comes as a relief to thousands of Manila residents who are still under flood water, and to the millions who were traumatized by the worst flooding to hit the city.

The typhoon also comes at a time when most Filipinos are traveling to their home towns to visit their departed loved ones as they celebrate All Saints' Day in this predominantly Catholic country.

Thousands are stranded in seaports as ferries were not allowed to sail, but millions of others took buses to go home to their provinces.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro expressed fear that floods and traffic congestion may trap visitors at graveyards, where people traditionally spend a day or even a night, but few heeded his call to scrap their commemorations.

Mirinae was tracking the same route as Tropical Storm Ketsana on Sept. 26 when it dumped the heaviest rains in 40 years in and around Manila — a month's worth in just 12 hours — leaving hundreds dead and thousands stranded in cars, on rooftops and in trees.

In Arenda village, where knee-deep waters still lingered a month after Ketsana hit, Hilaria Abiam was getting ready to leave at a moment's notice from her house along the shore of Laguna Lake, southeast of Manila

"If the floodwater threatens to rise again, then I will surely evacuate because I am really frightened," she said.

Another resident, Loida Vicente, prepared a boat at her home.

"I have a lot of children and if the water rises suddenly, then we will use that to evacuate," she said.

The government's disaster agency told people to prepare 72-hour survival kits, including food items like rice plus a radio set, flashlights and batteries, clothing and first aid supplies.


CBS News' Barnaby Lo reported from Manila. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.

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