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Typhoon Bopha: Palau clear, Philippines bracing

Monday December 3, 2012 - 09:21 EDT

Palau has narrowly escaped a direct hit by Typhoon Bopha, which is now heading straight for the southern Philippines.

Bopha was packing winds of up 250 kilometres an hour, sparking concerns it could be as devastating as Cyclone Tracy, which hit the northern Australian city of Darwin in 1974, killing 71 people.

"It was headed right towards Palau and at the last minute it turned to the west and fortunately went south of them," Derek Williams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Guam, told ABC Radio Australia's .

The islands were spared major damage, but there are reports of fallen trees and power has been cut.

"The fast movement of the system really prevented a lot of flooding. I think probably only a few inches of rain fell and that's good news," Mr Williams said.

Typhoons rarely hit Palau, which is outside the main typhoon zone.

Continuing threat

Typhoon Bopha, which has been renamed Typhoon Pablo by the Philippines, showed little sign of weakening, and was heading for the north east coast of Mindanao this morning.

"Its on its way to the Philippines and they're a pretty vulnerable population over there," Mr Williams said.

Local media quoted the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) as saying that Pablo was expected to make landfall over Surigao del Norte on Tuesday morning.


© ABC 2012

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