Philippines braces for typhoon Yutu

Typhoon Yutu, seen striking the Northern Mariana Islands, is bearing down on the Philippines.
Typhoon Yutu, seen striking the Northern Mariana Islands, is bearing down on the Philippines.

A powerful typhoon is barrelling towards the northern Philippines, days before millions of Filipinos were due to visit cemeteries in an annual tradition to pay respect to the dead.

Typhoon Yutu was packing maximum winds of 200 km/h and gusts of up to 245 km/h as it neared the Philippines' north-eastern coast on Saturday, the weather bureau said.

It was moving west at a speed of 20 km/h and was expected to make landfall over the border of the northern provinces of Cagayan and Isabela by Tuesday, the bureau added.

Yutu was expected to bring moderate to heavy rains and strong to very strong winds over the northern region of Luzon from Monday evening, the bureau said, adding that sea travel will be risky.

The typhoon comes as Filipinos prepared to honour their dead during All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day on November 1 and November 2.

Some Filipinos visit cemeteries as early as October 31.

Authorities urged the public to visit cemeteries earlier if possible, while emergency teams have been placed on red alert.

In September, more than 100 people were killed in landslides, flash floods and other accidents caused by Typhoon Mangkhut, the strongest cyclone to hit the Philippines this year.

Each year the Philippines is hit by an average of 20 cyclones which cause floods, landslides and other accidents.

One of the strongest in recent memory, Typhoon Haiyan, hit the country in November 2013, killing more than 6300 people and displacing more than 4 million others.

Australian Associated Press