Nock-ten has strengthened to a super typhoon and could hit Manila
The typhoon expected to make landfall in Philippines during Christmas
A major typhoon is gaining strength as it draws closer to the Philippines, where it’s expected to make landfall during Christmas Day.
Forecasters warned that Nock-ten, also known as Nina in the Philippines, could bring lashing winds and dump heavy rain throughout parts of the country, including the capital, Manila.
Nock-ten is now a super typhoon with sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour (149 mph) and gusts at 295 kilometers per hour (185 mph). The storm is expected to maintain this intensity through landfall with relatively minor fluctuations.
It should make landfall over the eastern island province of Catanduanes on Christmas afternoon or evening, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center projected that the typhoon would gradually weaken “as the system begins to interact with land” but warned it could still retain typhoon intensity.
The governor of Camarines Sur, Miguel Villafuerte, posted on Twitter that nearly 50,000 family evacuations had been scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday local time.
Camarines Sur is roughly 112 miles (181 km) away from the projected landfall location of the typhoon but is also a potential target.
As an added incentive to push people out of their homes and into shelters ahead of Christmas in this Catholic-majority country, Gov. Miguel Villafuerte has promised to provide the traditional dish of lechon (roasted pig) for his constituents if they proceed to evacuation centers, CNN affiliate ABS-CBN reported.
The Philippines has been battered by devastating typhoons in recent years, most notably Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 – considered to be among the strongest storms to make landfall. Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and forced nearly 4 million people from their homes.
Typhoon Nock-ten is expected to approach with rain bands moving onshore, which could cause floods, landslides and storm surges. It is projected to pass through Southern Luzon and could go through Manila.
It could bring flooding to the densely populated urban center during a busy holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, authorities in the Philippines hoisted storm warnings over parts of the eastern Philippines, including Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Masbate (including Ticao and Burias Islands), Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.
CNN’s Taylor Ward and Derek Van Dam contributed to this report.