Typhoon Melor weakened Tuesday as it crossed over the central Philippines, leaving one man dead and wide areas without power. About 730,000 people were evacuated to safer grounds before the typhoon hit.
The government weather bureau said Melor was northwest of central Romblon Island, packing winds of 87 miles per hour and gusts of up to 106 mph. Classes, flights and ferry trips remain suspended in affected areas.
The typhoon is expected to exit the land mass of Mindoro island later Tuesday, said Adzar Aurelio, a government weather forecaster. It will move over the South China Sea away from the country, and is forecast to weaken to a severe tropical storm on Wednesday and to a tropical depression by Thursday.
One fatality has been confirmed. Edgar Posadas, a regional civil defense official, said a 31-year-old man was hit Monday by a dislodged tin sheet while he was fixing his house's roof in Northern Samar province.
The national disaster management agency said 733,153 people were evacuated before the typhoon hit, and officials said that averted more casualties.
Melor made landfall Monday morning on tiny Batag Island in the eastern Philippines, and a second landfall was expected in Sorsogon province.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 724,839 residents of three eastern provinces were evacuated Sunday and early Monday before the storm's arrival. The largest numbers of evacuees were in Sorsogon and Albay provinces.
The storm's outer rain bands could hit the capital Manila, where the second lowest in a four-step storm warning system may be raised Monday night, state weather forecaster Robert Badrina told Agence France-Presse.
Stormy weather has forced the cancellation of 40 domestic flights and halted 625 passenger and cargo ferry trips, the disaster monitoring agency said.
Bernardo Alejandro, a regional civil defense official, said many residents of Sorsogon voluntarily went to shelters Sunday night, but the provincial governor then ordered evacuations Monday for residents who had refused to leave their homes despite the risk of floods and landslides.
In Albay, about 590,000 residents were evacuated as a precaution, including tens of thousands from around Mount Mayon volcano, where volcanic mudflows are an added threat, the national council said.
“The whole province is now a ghost town. We shut all establishments. No school, no work,” Albay governor Joey Salceda said on ABS-CBN television.
Albay, a province of 1.2 million people, has become a model for disaster preparedness. It recorded zero casualties from Typhoon Hagupit last December due to prompt evacuations.
Edgar Posadas, a civil defense official in the Eastern Visayas region, said parts of Allen town in Northern Samar province were flooded, and strong winds tore off roofs and felled coconut trees.
He said no casualties had been reported even in the northern tip of the province, where the typhoon first made landfall, and that the evacuation of residents and preparedness of local officials had so far proved effective.
About 20 storms and typhoons hit the Philippines each year.
In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon on record to make landfall, left more than 7,300 people dead and missing as it leveled entire villages and swept walls of seawater into parts of the central Philippines.