Rai, locally known as Odette, rapidly intensified Thursday as it headed straight toward the eastern coast of the Philippines. The storm made landfall over Siargao Island, reaching sustained winds of 260 kph with gusts over 300 kph. The weather bureau warned that very destructive winds could cause heavy to very heavy damage to structures and vegetation, along with widespread flooding and rain-induced landslides.
Flights have been canceled and dozens of ports have been temporarily closed as the weather bureau warned that several meter-high storm surges could cause life-threatening flooding in low-lying coastal areas. The storm is expected to weaken slightly as it moves across the Visayas region, and Mindanao and Palawan islands, before emerging on Saturday over the South China Sea and heading towards Vietnam.
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