Manila, Philippines — A powerful storm blew near the northern Philippines on Tuesday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate and halting navigation in the face of torrential rains and high tides of up to 3 meters (nearly 10 feet).
The strongest winds at the center of the storm are expected to remain offshore as Doksuri moves northwest off Cagayan and Batanes provinces, but they could hit remote islands in the archipelago. The National Weather Service said the storm’s 680 km (420 mi) wide rain band could cause flash flooding and trigger landslides in northern provinces.
Doksuri was last tracked 310 km (193 mi) east of Tuguegarao city in Cagayan province with sustained winds of 185 km (115 mph) and gusts of up to 230 km/h (143 mph), government forecasters said.
The storm will also intensify monsoon rains in the central and northern provinces. It is forecast to continue moving northwest on its way south of Taiwan and will make landfall in China later this week.
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said he had suspended work in his province to allow people to prepare for the onslaught and ordered the evacuation of thousands of people in 11 coastal towns as a precaution.
“This is a super typhoon and we are conducting pre-evacuation in all the coastal villages because we are afraid of high tides,” Mamba told The Associated Press by phone, adding that weather forecasters warned that high tides could reach heights of up to 3 meters (nearly 10 feet).
Outside of work, Mamba said classes at the university were also suspended from Tuesday to Wednesday. He said high school and high school students are on vacation.
Tuguegarao Mayor Maila Ting-Que urged the public to be vigilant and imposed a ban on alcohol, and warned violators would be arrested. Fishermen are forbidden from taking risks as the seas become increasingly rough.
Nearly 10,000 inter-island ferry passengers and cargo truck drivers, along with 100 passenger ships, cargo ships and motor bancas, were stranded at several ports where the ban on sailing was imposed due to typhoons and intensifying monsoon rains, the Philippine coast guard said.
In Taiwan, part of the annual Han Kuang military exercise was canceled on Tuesday.
An exercise to simulate the use of a civilian airport in the event of a military airstrip was canceled because it is located on the southeast coast of Taiwan, where the waves are high. At Taiwan’s southernmost point, waves reached as high as 2.5 meters (8 feet), according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.
Exercise Han Kuang is the largest annual exercise to demonstrate the defense capabilities of Taiwan’s military in the event of an attack by China, which claims the self-governing territory as its own. Land exercises for the Han Kuang exercise are still taking place in other parts of Taiwan.