Mangkhut, the strongest storm anywhere on the planet in 2018, made landfall in Cagayan province, on the northern tip of the Philippines island of Luzon, about 2:30 a.m. local time Saturday.
Mangkhut entered the Philippines as a super typhoon in the early hours of this morning, and sent fierce winds and heavy rains across the entire main island of Luzon, home to about half the country's 105 million people.
In Taiwan, a woman was swept away by high waves caused by the typhoon, the government said.
But disaster officials said the country was now better prepared in terms of evacuating and informing high-risk communities, which had experienced a super typhoon in 2016 and knew what was coming.
Authorities said about 10 million people in the Philippines are in the storm's path, not including millions more in coastal China.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center U.S. Navy-U.S. Air Force command, located in Hawaii, had downgraded Mangkhut from a "super typhoon", when it had peak wind speeds of 180 miles per hour, prior to landfall on the country's largest and most populous island.
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Saving lives was paramount and it was too soon to know the extent of Mangkhut's devastation, said Francis Tolentino, an adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and disaster response coordinator.
Five million people were in its path, and thousands were evacuated.
In Legazpi city in Albay province, evacuee Delaila Pasion said: "During the previous monsoon rains, half of our house was destroyed so I wanted to take my grandchildren to safety so they would not get hurt".
"We really learned a lot from the Haiyan experience", Catherine Cabarles, a school teacher in Quezon City, told NPR before Mangkhut arrived.
The typhoon struck at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, prompting farmers to scramble to save what they could of their crops, Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said.
More than P1.7 billion in food packs and relief assistance have been readied for distribution by the government to those who will be affected by the onslaught of the typhoon.
Tens of thousands of people were stranded in various ports in Luzon and the Visayas while thousands of families were also forced to flee their houses over warnings that the weather disturbance is packing a strong wind nearly similar to typhoon Yolanda.
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A Strong Wind Signal No. 3 is set to be issued later Saturday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
Multiple Hong Kong airlines, including flag carrier Cathay Pacific, have announced they will waive charges for rebooking or rerouting flights to and from the city during the worst of the storm.
The coastguard said about 5,000 passengers were stranded at several ports by the impending storm, which will head on towards Hong Kong, China and Vietnam.
After blasting the Philippines, Mangkhut is predicted to hurtle towards China's heavily populated southern coast this weekend.
Typhoon Mangkhut is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines - and the most powerful in the world this year.
Mangkhut led Taiwan to announce a series of rain, wind, and wave warnings on September 15, and the typhoon is expected to hit China between Hong Kong and Hainan late tomorrow afternoon.
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