Super typhoon Rai sparks evacuations as it approaches southern Philippines

Super typhoon Rai was intensifying as it approached the southern Philippines today.

Footage shows locals being evacuated as they wade through knee-deep floodwater after heavy rain from the typhoon in Cagayan de Oro province on Thursday December 16.

The storm, locally known as Bagyong Odette, was recorded 330 kilometres east of Surigao del Norte province at 4 AM local time, state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its early morning bulletin.

PAGASA added that ‘heavy to torrential’ rains were expected over the south-central parts of the Philippines until Friday. Storm signal warning 3, the third-highest in the country’s four-tiered weather alert system, has been hoisted over the Visayas and northern Mindanao islands.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Typhoon Rai may become a Category 5 hurricane or super typhoon, possibly reaching speeds of up to 260 kph when it makes landfall.

Thousands of residents in flood and landslide-prone rural areas have been evacuated by local government units as they brace for the powerful typhoon.