Typhoon Koppu strengthens as it moves closer to land
Typhoon Koppu grew stronger but was moving slower toward the north eastern Philippines late yesterday as the government urged local authorities to issue forced evacuations of residents in flood-prone areas.
Local officials were advised to conduct the "forced evacuation" of communities historically hit by flash floods and landslides as well as coastal villages at risk from destructive storm surges that could reach as high as three meters (10 feet), civil defence chief Alexander Pama said.
"The situation is critical because the winds are getting stronger and it will get stronger as (Koppu) moves closer," he said.
Regional civil defence chief Norma Talosig said villagers had been voluntarily moving to safer ground or emergency shelters since early yesterday. She could not immediately give the number of evacuees.
Heavy rains are expected to inundate many areas on the main northern island of Luzon even before the typhoon makes landfall early this morning.
Forecasters said the typhoon's cloud band had expanded to about 650 kilometres (406 miles) in diameter by late yesterday, unleashing the most intense rain close to the centre.