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‘Florita’ Exits PAR, Heads for Japan

Super typhoon ‘Florita’ has left the Philippine Area of Responsibility Tuesday morning, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

In its 5 a.m. weather bulletin, PAGASA said that as of 4 a.m. today, ‘Florita’ was estimated at 530 km northeast of Basco, Batanes.

Florita packed maximum sustained winds of 185 kph and gustiness of up to 220 kph.

Despite its exit, the state weather bureau still warned that ‘Florita’ will strengthen the southwest monsoon in the Philippines. PAGASA said Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, Mimaropa and the provinces of Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas will have monsoon rains.

Also, the rest of Luzon and Visayas will experience occasional rainshowers and thunderstorms while Mindanao will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rainshowers and thunderstorms.

Described as a “once in decades storm”, super typhoon Florita stirred toward the southern islands of Okinawa after sparing the Philippines.

‘Florita’ was expected to reach Okinawa later today, packing sustained winds of 198 kph (123 miles per hour) and gusts up to 270 kph (168 mph), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It said the storm could be one of the strongest to hit Japan in decades, generating waves up to 14 meters (46 feet) high.

JMA official Satoshi Ebihara told reporters at a news conference that “There is a risk of unprecedentedly strong winds and torrential rains. Please refrain from nonessential outdoor activities.”

“It is forecast to lose some power over land, but winds and heavy rains could cause landslides and other damage,” Ebihara also warned.

JMA also issued a special warning for violent winds, heavy rain and flood tides. The storm’s slow movement could add to the potential damage, weather forecasters said.

Earlier, NHK reported that 450 people were evacuated on Okinawa’s main island and thousands of homes were without electricity.

Forecasts show the storm tracking toward Kyushu island and then across Japan’s main island of Honshu.