By Jessie Yeung, Gene Norman and Kathleen Magramo, CNN
Hong Kong (CNN) — A powerful storm sweeping across the Pacific Ocean in the direction of the Philippines has intensified into a super typhoon, with forecasters warning it could hit the northern part of the country before hitting mainland China later this week.
Super typhoon Doksuri is packing winds of around 150 mph (240 kph) and is the equivalent of a category 4 Atlantic Hurricane.
The storm is moving north-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph) and is expected to pass over, or close to the Philippines’ Babuyan Islands within the next 24 hours, according to the country’s weather bureau.
Along with the heavy winds, significant rainfall is also expected, especially across the Babuyan Islands and northern Luzon, the Philippines’ largest and most populous island. “Under these conditions, flooding and rain-induced landslides are highly likely,” the bureau warned.
The threat for high storm surge is also expected, with maximum surge heights potentially exceeding 10 foot, the bureau added.
Doksuri, also known as Egay in the Philippines, is projected to continue northwest, passing close to the eastern side of Taiwan, where heavy rainfall is expected, and Hong Kong, before making landfall in southern China later this week.
China’s National Meteorological Center projects Doksuri will hit coastal regions in the eastern provinces of Fujian and Guangdong on Friday morning. Fujian province has upgraded its typhoon emergency warning to the third-highest level on Tuesday, and has asked fishing boats to return to port as soon as possible.
But the typhoon’s exact path is still uncertain, with the Hong Kong Observatory saying over the weekend there were several possible routes it could go.
The observatory said the typhoon’s final trajectory will be guided by a variety of factors, such as subtropical ridges that bring high atmospheric pressure, or monsoon troughs that bring low pressure.
Communities in the typhoon’s path are now bracing for impact, with Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. suspending all public school classes and closing government offices in the capital region on Monday, except for those performing critical services. The suspension was also in part due to a 3-day strike by transport workers.
The Philippine also urged people living in “highly susceptible” areas to follow evacuation orders and other instructions from local officials.
The Hong Kong Observatory has asked the public to monitor weather announcements, warning the typhoon will bring high heat and thunderstorms ahead of its arrival. The city has just experienced another storm, Typhoon Talim, a week ago, which prompted authorities to close schools and the stock market.
Strong wind advisories have been issued for the southern portion of Taiwan, specifically the coastlines of Taitung and Pingtung counties. These will be strengthened as Doksuri continues to approach the island, with the main threats being heavy rainfall, landslides, high winds and storm surge.
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