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Typhoon floods Manila, eyes Taiwan

  • Story Highlights
  • Sepat expected to reach southern Taiwan Saturday as category 4 typhoon
  • Major roads outside Manila flooded with water up to 1.5 meters deep
  • Around 100 people evacuated after landslide in neighboring province of Rizal
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MANILA, Philippines (Reuters) -- Residents of Manila and northern Philippines braced for more flooding and possible landslides on Thursday as Typhoon Sepat gathered strength northeast of the archipelago en route to Taiwan.

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Filipino students wade through floodwaters as they walk outside their school in Manila Wednesday.

The tropical cyclone, which has intensified into a category 5 super typhoon, brought the Philippine capital to a near standstill on Wednesday as it exacerbated monsoon rains, causing flooding chest-deep in places.

Taiwan issued a sea warning and told local fishermen to return to port, as the storm gathered strength and moved toward its coast.

Sepat, which is currently about 500 km (310 miles) northeast of the Philippines, is expected to reach southern Taiwan on Saturday morning as a category 4 typhoon, according to the British-based Web site Tropical Storm Risk.

Although Sepat, which means freshwater fish in Malay, will not make landfall in the Philippines, weather officials have warned the storm -- with gusts of up to 220 km (140 miles) per hour -- will intensify rains.

Major roads outside Manila remained flooded with water up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) deep in places, and officials in the neighboring province of Rizal ordered the evacuation of around 100 people after a landslide.

"At this time the weather is relatively calm. But once the rains fall again, the inner soil will give way, and another landslide will happen," engineer Jesus Samson told a local radio station.

Despite dry skies, schools in the capital and nearby provinces remained shut as residents mopped up following Wednesday's flash floods.

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Disaster officials have warned small fishing boats to stay in port and have also cautioned residents of coastal areas about big waves and storm surges.

Tropical storms in the region gather intensity from the warm ocean waters and frequently develop into typhoons that hit Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and southern China during a season that lasts from early summer to late autumn. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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