Typhoon Maysak: Philippines braces for possible landslides and storm surges across Easter weekend

Ulithi property damaged by Typhoon Maysak

A property damaged by Typhoon Maysak in Ulithi, in the Federated States of Micronesia. Supplied: Brad Holland

(SOURCE)  The Philippines has issued warnings of possible landslides and storm surges, with Typhoon Maysak set to strike eastern coastal areas, where many resorts are located, over the Easter weekend.

Maysak, initially a top-rated category five typhoon, has weakened to category four as it lost strength over the water.

It is expected to further lose strength as it hits the mountains of north-eastern Philippines on Saturday or Sunday, the weather bureau said.

But authorities are concerned foreign and Filipino tourists spending the long Easter weekend on the beaches along the eastern coasts of the main Luzon island may ignore warnings.

The Easter holidays began on Thursday in the Philippines and the typhoon is expected to make landfall within 72 hours.

“This will bring waves which our surfers really like. But this is a typhoon we are facing, even if we say it may become just a storm,” Esperanza Cayanan, an officer at the weather bureau, said in a televised disaster briefing.

“The waves will be strong and it will be dangerous for our fellowmen in the eastern coasts.”

Officials of Aurora province northeast of Manila estimate about 10,000 tourists were expected to troop to its Baler Bay, a popular spot for surfers.

Authorities have also ordered fishermen not to go out to sea while the typhoon is close to the eastern coastline.

Storm surges up to three or four metres high are expected along eastern coasts, Ms Cayanan said.

State of emergency declared in Micronesia

A state of emergency was declared in Chuuk, the largest region of the Federated States of Micronesia, where Maysak killed at least five people.

Maysak entered Philippine territory late on Wednesday, packing winds of 175 kilometres per hour near the centre and gusts of up to 210 kph.

The typhoon was spotted 995 kilometres east of Catarman in Northern Samar province southeast of Manila before noon on Thursday, and was moving northwest at 19 kph.

Heavy rainfall is expected within a radius of 150 to 200 kilometres from the eye of the storm, Ms Cayanan said.

The typhoon could damage rice and corn crops in central and northern areas of the Philippines, although damage is likely to be minimal as the major harvest of the national staple rice was finished around February.

Typhoon Maysak is the third significant storm in the Philippines this year.

About 20 major typhoons pass through the Philippines every year, and the storms have become fiercer in recent years.

After Haiyan, a category five typhoon that struck in November 2013, the toll of dead and missing ran to nearly 8,000 people.