Lekima is one of two typhoons in the western Pacific at the moment. Further east, Typhoon Krosa is spreading heavy rain across the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. According to forecaster, it is moving north-west and could strike Japan sometime next week.
On August 9, Lekima was passing the north of Taiwan, causing flight cancelations and the closures of schools and offices.
According to local media, power was cut to more than 40,000 homes and the island’s high speed rail service was suspended north of the city of Taichung
The huge storm came a day after eastern Taiwan was rattled by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. Experts said the risks of landslides triggered by the tremor were made more likely by the typhoon dumping up to 35 inches of rain on Taiwan’s northern mountains.
On August 9, Lekima also brought heavy rain and high winds to south-west Japan, cutting power to about 14,000 homes, broadcaster NHK reported.
China’s weather bureau said typhoon Lekima was expected to have weakened further by the time it made landfall. The country has a four-stage color-coded warning system, with red representing the most severe weather.
A presidential spokesman and disaster response coordinator said almost all the deaths had been caused by landslides in the Cordillera and Nueva Vizcaya regions, adding that reports from other areas were still coming in.
One person was killed by a falling tree in the province of Ilocos Sur, he said.
Almost all buildings in the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan’s provincial capital, sustained damage, a government official said.
The Philippines is routinely hit during the typhoon season but the strength of Manghukt evoked memories of the deadliest storm on national record – Super Typhoon Haiyan – which killed more than 7,000 five years ago.
However, preparation and evacuation procedures have been improved since then – warnings were issued, travel was restricted, schools shut and the army was put on standby in advance.
Mangkhut is still strong as it heads west toward southern China with current sustained wind speeds of 90mph but fears it will re-strengthen into a super typhoon have receded.