Typhoon Pummels Philippines

Some 40 dead in one of year's most severe storms

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 4, 2012 5:55 AM CST

(Newser) – The Philippines was battered today by one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country this year, killing a reported 40 people and forcing more than 50,000 to flee from inundated villages in the country's south. Typhoon Bopha slammed into the Davao region at dawn, packing winds of 99mph and gusts of up to 121mph. It toppled trees, triggered landslides, and sent flash floods surging. A Philippines governor says at least 33 villagers and soldiers drowned when torrents of water rushed down a mountain. The victims included villagers who had fled their homes to a village hall, which was swamped by the flash flood. An army truck carrying soldiers and villagers also was washed away.

While some 20 typhoons and storms normally lash the archipelago nation annually, the southern provinces being battered by Bopha are unaccustomed to fierce typhoons, and the death toll is expected to rise once soldiers and police gain access to some far-flung villages. A rare storm that took the area by surprise last December killed more than 1,200 people and left many more homeless and traumatized. Officials were taking no chances this year, and President Benigno Aquino III made an appeal on national TV yesterday for people in Bopha's path to move to safety and take storm warnings seriously.

This Earth Observatory image made on Dec. 3, 2012, provided by NASA shows Typhoon Bopha moving toward the Philippines.
This Earth Observatory image made on Dec. 3, 2012, provided by NASA shows Typhoon Bopha moving toward the Philippines.   (AP Photo/NASA, Jesse Allen)
This photo provided by NASA and made from the International Space Station on Dec. 2, 2012, shows Typhoon Bopha moving toward the Philippines.
This photo provided by NASA and made from the International Space Station on Dec. 2, 2012, shows Typhoon Bopha moving toward the Philippines.   (AP Photo/NASA)
Philippine National Police clear a highway of toppled coconut trees after Typhoon Bopha made a landfall in Compostela Valley in southeastern Philippines Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012.
Philippine National Police clear a highway of toppled coconut trees after Typhoon Bopha made a landfall in Compostela Valley in southeastern Philippines Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Karlos Manlupig)
Commuters maneuver their vehicles through a muddy portion of a highway after Typhoon Bopha made a landfall in Compostela Valley in southeastern Philippines Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012.
Commuters maneuver their vehicles through a muddy portion of a highway after Typhoon Bopha made a landfall in Compostela Valley in southeastern Philippines Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Karlos Manlupig)
A dog is chained near a damaged house after Typhoon Bopha made a landfall in Compostela Valley in southeastern Philippines Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012.
A dog is chained near a damaged house after Typhoon Bopha made a landfall in Compostela Valley in southeastern Philippines Tuesday Dec. 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Karlos Manlupig)
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