Tens of thousands of Filipinos sought shelter in evacuation centers as the storm-ravaged nation of islands braced for Typhoon Parma, expected to make landfall Saturday afternoon.
At 1 p.m (1 a.m. ET), Parma, known locally as Typhoon Pepeng, had maximum sustained winds of 167 kph (103 mph) with gusts as high as 204 kph (127 mph) as it approached the coastline of Luzon, the largest of the Philippine islands.
The storm is expected to hit land along the northern coastline, a rural region of fisherman and farmers, CNN reports.
According to Bloomberg, the respite will help government officials and relief organizations to deal with the effects of Tropical Storm Ketsana, which flooded Manila and surrounding provinces a week ago, forcing more than 800,000 to abandon their homes. Schools, many used as evacuation and relief operation centers, were shut all week. Some areas remain flooded while others, including Marikina in eastern Manila, are mired in as much as two feet of mud.
"It’s a big help, we weren’t ready for another catastrophe," Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando said in a phone interview. "Prayers worked; everyone was praying. We can go back to our homes." Most of the municipality’s 10,000 remaining evacuees may be home before Monday, allowing schools to reopen.
The head of the government weather bureau, Nathaniel Cruz, says the typhoon slammed into Cagayan province at mid afternoon Saturday.
Officials say the threat of another major flooding disaster in the capital has eased because Parma is tracking farther north than earlier predicted.
A Sept. 26 storm caused the worst flooding in the capital in 40 years and killed at least 288 people, The Associated Press reports.