Super typhoon Hagupit has weakened significantly as it went past the Philippines to enter the East Sea, which borders Vietnam’s longest coastline, on Tuesday afternoon.
The typhoon crossed Luzon island at around 1 p.m. and became the fifth storm this year in the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea), according to the National Center for Hydrometeorology Forecasting.
The storm carried winds of 62 to 74 kilometers per hour (kph) with wind guts of 80-100 kph and is forecast to remain as strong until Thursday afternoon, moving 20 kph toward Vietnam’s south central coast.
Then it will weaken gradually before making a landfall on Friday. Heavy downpours are expected in the region as the storm will combine with a cold spell at sea on Wednesday, the center said.
Hagupit, which means “lash” in Filipino, reached Super Typhoon status with sustained winds near 240 kph.
But it was much weaker with a 125 kph peak sustained wind Saturday night when it made first landfall in Samar province, just to the south of Tacloban, which is yet to recover from last year’s category 5 super typhoon Haiyan.
At least 27 people were reported dead, many of them drowned in Borongan, the main town in Eastern Samar where the typhoon flattened homes, toppled trees and cut power and communications, Reuters quoted the Philippine National Red Cross as saying Tuesday.
Around a million people had been evacuated to safer ground before the storm with rising fear of another Haiyan.
Haiyan, the strongest storm ever recorded on land, left more than 7,000 dead or missing and more than four million homeless or with damaged houses when it tore through the central Philippines in November 2013, according to Reuters.
Typhoon Haiyan also left 14 people dead in northern and central Vietnam.