MANILA, Philippines -- Evacuations began in the eastern Philippines Thursday as Typhoon Mitag approached packing winds of 85 mph with higher gusts.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration Services reported Thursday afternoon the storm was 250 miles east of Virac in the province of Catanduanes. It was moving westward at 8 mph and had gusts reported up to 105 mph. GMANews.tv reported.
The country's National Disaster Coordinating Council reported some 27,000 residents of mountainous Bicol were evacuated to safer ground before the storm makes landfall Friday and sweeps across the country Saturday.
Last year, Bicol was severely battered by Typhoon Durian, which killed an estimated 1,200 people.
Civil defense official also warned coastal areas could see storm surge waves more than 30 feet high from Mitag, the report said.
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