Typhoon Surigae rapidly intensifies, Philippines raises alert

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - The Philippines is bracing for destructive winds and intense rains as Typhoon Surigae rapidly intensifies.

The typhoon locally known as Bising is moving west northwest over the Philippine sea, packing maximum winds of 175 km per hour and gusts of up to 215 km per hour, the weather bureau said early Saturday (April 17). Flooding and rain-induced landslides may occur, the agency warned as it placed about a dozen areas east of the country under the lowest storm alert.

Surigae, the first typhoon in the western Pacific Basin this year, isn't likely to directly hit land, according to the agency. It's however expected to intensify further and could reach a peak of 195 km per hour to 205 km per hour on Sunday, it said. Shipping operations at a port in Sorsogon province have been suspended until April 20 due to the typhoon, the coast guard said on Twitter.

"Conditions will be favorable for further strengthening," AccuWeather meteorologist Tony Zartman said on its website, adding the amount of impact to the Philippines would depend on how quickly the typhoon makes a turn to the north while on water over the weekend.

An average of 20 typhoons pass through the Philippines each year.