Typhoon Megi storms towards Philippines

Typhoon Megi gathered strength as it barrelled towards the northern Philippines on Sunday, with authorities warning of possible forced evacuations.

With maximum winds of 160km/h near the centre and gusts of up to 195km/h, Megi was approaching the northeastern side of the country's main island of Luzon.

It is expected to make landfall over the northern province of Cagayan by Monday, and as of Sunday morning it was 630 kilometres east of the province, the state weather bureau said.

Norma Talosig, regional chief of the Office of Civil Defence, said the weather was deceptively calm over Cagayan, although they expect it to change drastically within the day.

She said residents in low-lying areas in Cagayan as well as those in coastal communities were being advised to move to safer areas and if they refused they would be forcibly evacuated.

"If we have to conduct forced evacuation, we'll do it for their (residents') safety," Talosig said over national radio. "Our main objective is the safety of the community, the safety of the responders."

In Manila, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said food packs, medicine and rescue equipment, including rubber boats, are ready in areas expected to be lashed by the typhoon.

The Philippines is battered by an estimated 20 typhoons a year, some of them deadly.

Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma struck Luzon within a week of each other in late September and early October last year, triggering the worst flooding in recent history.

The twin storms killed more than a thousand people, affected nearly 10 million and caused damage worth $US4.3 billion ($A4.34 billion) according to the World Bank and international humanitarian agencies.

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