Super typhoon cuts power, unleashes landslides in northern Philippines

MANILA Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:15am EDT

1 of 4. A boy holds on to the concrete bank as rough waves crash along the coast of Manila Bay brought by Super Typhoon Usagi in Navotas City, metro Manila September 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

Related Video

MANILA (Reuters) - The year's most powerful typhoon slammed into the Philippines' northernmost islands on Saturday, cutting communication and power lines, triggering landslides and inundating rice fields, officials said.

Packing winds of 185 kph (114 mph) near the center and gusts of up to 220 kph, Typhoon Usagi weakened after hitting the Batanes island group, and is moving slowly west-northwest at 19 kph towards southern China, the weather bureau said.

Usagi, which has been labeled a super typhoon, made landfall on Itbayat, the Philippine island closest to Taiwan, toppling communication and power lines, uprooting trees, causing landslides and flooding rice and garlic farms.

"It's rare that we suffer casualties as a result of typhoons," Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, a former congressman for Batanes, told Reuters, saying the province had not experienced a powerful typhoon in 25 years.

"A flash flood occurred and trees were uprooted from the mountain and swept by roiling waters to the town. Many houses lost their roofs or were destroyed. Damage to crops is heavy and landslides were reported all around."

Sea and air travel have been suspended since Friday, with fishermen urged to bring their boats in due to strong winds and giant waves. Emergency workers were sent to the rescue of affected households in the province of nearly 16,000 people.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, on average. In 2011, Typhoon Washi killed 1,200 people, destroyed more than 10,000 homes and displaced 200,000 people.

Bopha, the strongest storm to hit in 2012, flattened three coastal towns on the southern island of Mindanao, killing 1,100 people and destroying crops, property and infrastructure worth more than $1 billion.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (10)
jeffshaffers wrote:
It must be a slow news day. This is nothing more than a mild hurricane. There was plenty of warning.

Sep 21, 2013 7:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mitchellvii8 wrote:
I’m sorry but how is 114mph winds “Super” anything? Sure it was up to 160 mph out in the middle of the ocean but hurricanes do that with regularity.

This is nothing more than the fake global warming crowd trying to make a run-of-the-mill typhoon (hurricane) sound horrific.

Note: Despite increases in CO2, no hurricane above a Cat 3 has hit the USA in 8 years. The climate models showing them hitting us every 5 minutes.

Sep 21, 2013 7:59am EDT  --  Report as abuse
majormike2011 wrote:
In the Post “Super Storm Sandy” era, anything bigger than a Category 1 hurricane is now a “Super Storm”. Typhoon Usagi (Category 3) is much larger than Hurricane Sandy (Category 1), but much smaller than Hurricane Andrew (Category 5).

I don’t really follow the Western Pacific Typhoon seasons, but I do follow the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific hurricane seasons. To date in the Eastern Pacific that have been five Category 1 hurricanes and one Category 2 hurricane. Last year at this time, there had been three Cat 1 storms; two Cat 2 storms; three Cat 3 storms; and one Cat 4 storm.

So far this year in the Atlantic, there has been one Cat 1 storm that lasted all of 18 hours.

For all the additional CO2 they’ve been whining about in Washington, there doesn’t appear to be all the hurricanes predicted by the IPCC. Florida is enjoying one of the nicest, calmest hurricane seasons I can ever remember. If CO2 is causing this, let’s burn more coal.

Sep 21, 2013 8:53am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.


California's historic drought

With reservoirs at record lows, California is in the midst of the worst drought in decades.  Slideshow