At 4:30 a.m., the eye was near the town of Lasam in Cagayan Province, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Heavy rain and battering winds were reported in Cagayan, with Manuel Mamba, the provincial governor, describing the provincial capital Tuguegarao as being “pummeled” during a telephone interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel.
Associated Press journalists sheltering in a hotel in Tuguegarao early Saturday reported seeing tin roof sheets and other debris hurtling through the air and store signs crashing to the ground.
Meteorologists in Manila said even the typhoon’s weaker winds could be deadly. “It can lift cars, you can’t stand, you can’t even crawl against that wind,” Rene Paciente, a government forecaster, told reporters.
Roads were deserted in coastal Ilocos Sur, on the northwestern side of Luzon, as authorities warned of storm surges up to six feet in that province. Trees felled by the storm blocked roadways.
The heavily populated Metro Manila area, further south on Luzon Island, seemed to have been spared the worst of the storm. Early Saturday, the national weather service was warning of strong winds and moderate rain in that area — issuing the lowest-level alert — but flooding was still possible in low-lying areas.
Driving up the coast, amid flying debris
Hannah Beech, a New York Times correspondent, was heading north along Luzon’s western coast in Ilocos Sur Province the early hours of Saturday. Foliage and trees were strewn across the road, which was almost deserted.
After dawn broke, with the authorities warning of storm surges, she and a driver pulled off the road in the town of San Juan and parked near city hall to wait for the eye of the storm to pass. Debris was flying through the air. At one point, the roof of a shed blew past.
As they approached Laoag city from the south, they passed many downed trees and some badly damaged buildings. Signs, tin roofs and gates had been torn free and blown around. The roads were deserted except for the occasional emergency vehicle, but some people had ventured outside in ponchos. In larger towns, many windows had been covered with tape for protection, but there was little sign of shattered glass.