More than 15,000 people have evacuated in the Philippines, and two people have been killed, as Typhoon Koppu made landfall early Sunday, dumping rain on the island chain and thrashing it with winds of more than 110 mph, CNN, the BBC and the Associated Press report.
Officials are now braced for several days of intense rain, as Koppu, known locally as Lando, moves slowly over the northern island of Luzon.
It is blocked by a “ridge of high pressure over China,” according to CNN.
Koppu was a super typhoon as it made landfall on the Philippines’ most populous island, according to The Weather Channel.
The Philippines could receive more than 39 inches of in some areas by Wednesday, according to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.
“That’s where the problem with the flash flooding comes in, because when you have all of this rain that keeps coming down over the same places over and over, that is likely to trigger mudslides and landslides in addition to flash flooding problems,” Chinchar said.
A 62-year-old woman was killed by a collapsing wall in her home and a 14-year-old was killed by a falling tree, Filipino officials told CNN. Four people, including a 3-year-old, were injured.
Three missing fishermen were rescued after being lost at sea, and three other missing people were found at an evacuation camp, Nigel Lontoc, of the Office of Civil Defense, told the AP.
“Through the night, we’ve had extremely ferocious wind, torrential rain,” James Reynolds, a storm chaser, told CNN from Maddela. “The building I’m in, the water’s been coming in the windows.”
Flooding and landslides have cut off access to three towns in Aurora province, where Koppu made landfall, according to CNN.
The storm has weakened over land and is forecast to move at 3 mph before leaving Luzon on Wednesday, weather bureau chief Esperanza Cayanan told the AP.
“I must emphasize that this is just the start. People must remain alert while we try to pick up the pieces in areas already hit,” said Alexander Pama, executive director of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, according to AFP.
The Philippines is “considered to be the most vulnerable large nation on earth for tropical cyclones,” weather writer Bob Henson told CNN.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms to ever make landfall, left more than 7,000 people missing or dead in the Philippines – sending a storm surge that flattened neighborhoods, according to CNN.
Koppu is the most powerful tropical cyclone (including typhoons or hurricanes) to make landfall on Luzon in five years, according to The Weather Channel.