A super typhoon slammed into the Philippines, battering the heavily populated main island of Luzon with strong winds and heavy rain that are expected to cause flooding and destroy crops, authorities said.
Super Typhoon Noru made landfall in Burdeos municipality on the Polillo islands, part of Quezon province, at 9.30am Irish time, according to the state weather forecaster.
The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 195km (121 miles) an hour as it charged towards the archipelago nation after an unprecedented "explosive intensification", the state weather forecaster said.
"Coconut trees are swaying while banana plants have been brought down," Angelique Bosque, the mayor of the Polillo Islands, told DZRH radio station.
The storm was likely to make a direct hit on the small islands just east of Luzon.
Waves whipped up by the category 3 typhoon were battering the islands' main port and low-lying areas were flooded, Ms Bosque said.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, sees an average of 20 tropical storms a year.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, killed 6,300 people.
Today, authorities began evacuating thousands of people from coastal areas on Luzon, where the capital, Manila, is located.
The mayor of Dingalan town, also on Luzon, told DZMM radio station that communication lines were severed and the power was out in some communities.
President Ferdinand Marcos was in communication with cabinet members involved in preparations for the storm, the presidential palace said.
Noru will bring heavy to torrential rains over the capital region and nearby provinces as it moves westward over rice-producing provinces. It is likely to emerge over the South China Sea by late tonight or early tomorrow.
Numerous ferry services were suspended and airlines cancelled 30 domestic and international flights to and from Manila, authorities said.