Typhoon Saola leaves 23 dead in Philippines
Storm gaining strength, moving north
Heavy rains from the outer bands of Typhoon Saola, which hovered near the Philippines beginning last week, have left 23 people dead and another five injured, an official with the National Disaster Coordinating Center said Thursday.
The center's executive director, Benito Ramos, told CNN in a telephone interview that another 129 people -- most of them fishermen -- had been rescued.
Forty-four evacuation centers were opened as Manila and the cities of Valenzuela and Malabon north of the capital along Manila Bay remained flooded, he said.
In all, Saola dropped as much as half a meter (1.5 feet) of rain over the Philippines, said CNNI Meteorologist Taylor Ward.
Rains over the Philippines were only intermittent by Thursday at about 4 a.m., when the typhoon -- packing winds of 157 kph (98 mph) was making landfall in northeast Taiwan, said Ward.
Taipingshan, a mountainous in northern Taiwan, got more than 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) of rain. "The mountains really help enhance the rainfall," Ward said. "They basically force the air upwards, and that squeezes out the possible precipitation."
He described Saola as the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic when it made landfall in Taiwan. It was expected to continue at similar strength into China, striking 300 to 400 miles south of Shanghai at about 10 p.m. Thursday (10 a.m. ET).
The U.S. government's National Hurricane Center describes a Category 2 storm as one with sustained winds of 154-177 kph (96 - 110 mph) that "will cause extensive damage."
Another typhoon -- Typhoon Damrey -- was expected to strike about 150 miles north of Shanghai, Ward said.
Damrey was expected to be slightly weaker -- the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic, he said. The hurricane center describes those as packing sustained winds of 119-153 kph (74-95 mph) that "will produce some damage."
Copyright 2012 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.