Typhoon Bopha Pounds Southern Philippines

Posted December 4th, 2012 at 1:05 am (UTC-5)
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A powerful typhoon is pounding the southern Philippines, uprooting trees, blowing off roofs, and sending thousands of residents fleeing to government shelters.

Typhoon Bopha made landfall early Tuesday off the southern island of Mindanao, packing winds of up to 210 kilometers per hour. It is expected to be the strongest storm this year to hit the flood-prone country.

No casualties or serious damage have been reported. Officials say more than 41,000 people in flood-prone areas have been moved to government shelters across Mindanao.

Residents in at least eight municipalities are without power after officials cut electricity. At least 80 domestic flights have been cancelled, while ships were ordered to stay in port.

Philippine authorities say they have stockpiled food supplies and rescue equipment in the storm's predicted path.

The archipelago country is vulnerable to severe flooding caused by heavy rains and tsunamis. At the end of last year, more than 1,200 people died in the southern part of the country because of major floods brought on by storms.

The government has been working on a high-tech weather monitoring system that will help officials come up with a more accurate prediction of natural disasters and an integrated response. Right now, anyone can look up a forecast on a special website by plugging in a location. Residents can get rainfall predictions and view cloud patterns.