Typhoon Mangkhut is the equivalent of a Category 5 severe tropical cyclone, boasting maximum sustained winds of 205kph and gusts up to 285kph.
The latest monitoring showed the typhoon had retained its ferocious strength but shifted slightly toward more densely populated coastal provinces closer to the northeastern Philippines, where a massive evacuation was underway.
It was initially expected to hit the northern tip of Cagayan province early Saturday, but it is now likely to make landfall farther south and closer to Isabela province, and then cut across the northern breadbasket, Philippine state forecaster Chris Perez said.
The Global Disaster Alert and co-ordination System (GDACS) said it expected a “high humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path” of destruction.
Mangkhut is forecast to hit the northeastern Cagayan province of the Philippines, early on Saturday local time.