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Philippines braces for Typhoon Haimi

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The typhoon weakened as it moved toward the South China Sea, but the local weather bureau said it was monitoring another storm that could reach the eastern boundary by Monday.

Typhoon Haima bore down on the Philippines Tuesday, with the country's northern island of Luzon bracing for strong winds and heavy rainfall that could trigger landslides in the mountainous region, forecasts say.

Sarika swept out into the South China Sea in the early afternoon after dumping heavy rain across a broad section of Luzon island. By 10 a.m. yesterday, the weather agency located Haima at 1,615 km. east of the Visayas, packing maximum sustained winds of up to 150 kph and gustiness of up to 185 kph.

When last spotted, state weathermen said Haima was bearing centre winds of 150kph, gustiness of up to 186kph and moving west northwest at 22kph.

Mayor Nelianto Bihasa of Baler, a popular surfing town in Aurora, said howling wind ripped tin roofs off many houses and knocked down trees and electric posts, causing power outages and blocking access roads to some villages.

Steered by high pressure aloft to its north, Haima may threaten Luzon, Philippines, or Taiwan late Wednesday or Thursday, potentially as a strong typhoon.

Haima will be the second storm system to pound the Philippines this week.

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In the worst-hit province of Quang Binh, 18 people died and authorities are searching for three missing, disaster official Tran Le Dang Hung said.

Floods caused by torrential rains have killed more than 24 in Vietnam and submerged thousands of homes ahead of a typhoon, officials said on Monday.

About 200 domestic and worldwide flights have been canceled and thousands of passengers stranded in seaports after inter-island ferries were ordered not to venture out in rough seas.

The first storm of the week, Typhoon Sarika, hit Luzon on Sunday as the equivalent of a Category 4.

With flights and rail travel suffering delays and cancellations due to Typhoons Nepartak, Meranti and Megi, similar travel issues should be expected as Typhoons Sarika and Haima make landfall.

The most affected areas in the Bicol Region were: Camarines Sur (P419.39-million), Albay (P68.15 million), Sorsogon (P59.2-million), Catanduanes (P22.9-million) and Camarines Norte (P1.9-million), which suffered damages in both rice and corn crops as well as high value crops and livestock.

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