Still-Swirling Philippine Storm Leaves 21 Dead

December 8, 2014 by  

Still-Swirling Philippine Storm Leaves 21 Dead, Typhoon Hagupit weakened into a tropical storm Monday, leaving at least 21 people dead, forcing more than a million people into shelters but sparing most of the central Philippine region still haunted by last year’s monster storm.

While the worst was over in central island provinces, where the sun peeked Monday after days of stormy weather, the bustling capital, Manila, and outlying provinces braced as Hagupit blew nearer with maximum sustained winds of 105 kilometers (65 miles) per hour and gusts of 135 kph (84 mph).

Forecasters said the storm was expected to slam into a Batangas provincial town about 110 kilometers (68 miles) south of Manila by nightfall. Although considerably weaker from its peak power, the storm remains potentially dangerous and could still whip storm surges that could overwhelm coastal villages, they said.

Hagupit (pronounced HA’-goo-pit), which made landfall in Eastern Samar late Saturday, was moving slowly at 10 kph (6 mph) and could dump heavy rain that could possibly trigger landslides and flash floods, according to forecasters.

Traumatized by the death and destruction from Typhoon Haiyan last year, more than 1 million people fled to emergency shelters and safer grounds. Many have started to troop back home after the typhoon had blown past their provinces, Philippine Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang said.

“The worst is over for them. It’s a big relief because they really got scared of this typhoon with Haiyan in their minds,” Pang said. “And there are still areas bracing for the storm like Manila.”

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