MANILA (Agencies): At least one person has died in the Philippines and tens of thousands have been evacuated while airport operations at the capital has been suspended as Typhoon Kammuri moved closer to the main Luzon island.
Kammuri has gained strength, now packing maximum winds of 155km per hour near the centre and gusts of up to 190kmh, the nation's weather bureau said.
Operations at the Philippine capital's international airport are to be temporarily suspended starting Tuesday (Dec 3), an official said, as a safety precaution against the powerful typhoon.
"The airlines and the authority (Manila International Airport Authority) decided to close the airport," its general manager Ed Monreal told reporters on Monday (Dec 2).
“Based on our estimate, it will be closed from 11am (0300 GMT) to 11pm tomorrow, Dec 3.”
The 20th storm to enter the Philippines this year is following a track similar to typhoon Rammasun in July 2014, which killed 106 people.
More than 50 areas are on storm signal 3, the third-highest in a five-level warning system, before it hits land over Bicol region as early as Monday evening.
Under signal 3, wind of as much as 170kmh - strong enough to topple coconut trees and destroy rice and corn crops - may be expected in 18 hours.
Metro Manila and nearly a hundred other areas in Luzon and Visayas are under signal 2.
Heavy rains and winds due to the typhoon are expected to be felt in the capital starting Tuesday morning, prompting class suspensions.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Air earlier suspended more flights, while more than 4,600 people are stranded in various ports after ferry services were halted.
The storm can have a "high humanitarian impact," the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System said on its website, putting a population of 8 million at risk.
More than 60,000 people were asked to leave their homes in Bicol region, authorities said.
The Philippines is hosting the 30th South-east Asian Games that will run through Dec 11. Organisers have said contingency plans are in place should the event face disruption.
Windsurfing, originally scheduled for Sunday, has been reset as have other outdoor events, ABS-CBN News reported.
Kammuri is forecast to exit Philippine waters on Thursday, the weather bureau said. - Bloomberg/AFP