MANILA (Reuters) - The second powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines in a week weakened as it crossed northern mountains on Saturday, dumping heavy rain, causing landslides and cutting power and communications.
A woman was killed in Mountain Province as rain brought by Typhoon Nalgae saturated slopes and sent a landslide crashing down on a mini-bus she was travelling in, said Benito Ramos, head of the national disaster agency.
“She is the first casualty of Typhoon Nalgae,” said Ramos though he added severed power and telephone connections made it difficult for his agency to assess damage.
The country has yet to recover from Typhoon Nesat, which hit on Tuesday, killing at least 52 people. Thirty-one people are still missing from Nesat, the national disaster agency said.
Typhoon Nalgae hit rice-producing Isabela province and battered the Cordillera mountain region, weather forecaster Mario Palafox told a news conference.
“Typhoon Nalgae has crossed the northern region and is now heading towards the West Philippine Sea and is expected to induce the southwest monsoon, bringing more rains in flooded areas,” Palafox said, referring to the South China Sea.
Its winds eased to about 150 kph (93 mph) but it still brought danger from floods.
“We will still expect stormy weather in the next 24 to 48 hours, so we appeal to people in flooded areas to abandon their homes and move to safer grounds because the water level may continue to rise,” Palafox said.
Two rice-producing provinces — Pampanga and Bulacan — have been submerged in chest-deep water since Friday. The storm brought about 25 mm of rain an hour of rainfall in some areas from Tuesday.
Nalgae could worsen the floods on Luzon’s central plains, Palafox said as major dams in the north are almost at bursting levels.
Faustino Dy, governor of Isabela province, said hundreds of people in coastal areas had been evacuated as rain and wind cut power and communications lines, uprooted trees and blocked roads with debris.
The damage bill from Typhoon Nesat stood at 6 billion pesos ($137 million), the disaster agency said. More than 180,000 people fled to shelters in dozens of towns north of Manila.
The weather bureau said another storm was developing in the Pacific and might hit the northern Philippines late next week.
Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Robert Birsel