Strong typhoon pounds Philippines; 41K leave homes

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Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 4 at 12:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A powerful typhoon is wreaking havoc in the southern Philippines.

The storm has knocked out power, suspended air travel and flooded areas already vulnerable to landslides, but there are no reports of casualties.

More than 41,000 residents have moved out of their homes in high-risk coastal villages and along rivers, including in southern provinces that were devastated by a deadly storm a year ago.

President Benigno Aquino has asked people in Typhoon Bopha's path to move to safety and take storm warnings seriously. Aquino says "This typhoon is not a joke," adding, "It could be the strongest to hit the country this year."

Government forecasters say the storm has sustained winds of 109 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 130.

Bopha, which has a 370-mile-wide rain band, is expected to barrel across southern and central provinces before blowing out into the South China Sea on Thursday.

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