updated 8/19/2008 10:18:47 PM ET 2008-08-20T02:18:47

A powerful typhoon packing winds of 87 mph battered the northern Philippines with heavy rains Wednesday, closing schools and putting authorities on alert for flash floods and landslides.

The eye of Typhoon Nuri, with gusts of up to 106 mph, skirted the northeastern tip of the archipelago in Cagayan province, but its outer bands engulfed most of the mountainous northern provinces where schools were closed and storm alerts raised.

The head of the Philippine weather bureau, Nathaniel Cruz, said Nuri was a powerful system and would likely gain strength as it slowly moves northwest at 13 mph across Babuyan and Calayan islands in the Luzon Strait toward Hong Kong and Guangdong in eastern China.

He said the typhoon was enhancing monsoon rains and that strong winds would continue until Thursday morning.

A typhoon in June killed more than 500 people across the Philippines, along with more than 850 passengers and crew of a ferry that capsized off central Sibuyan island on June 21.

Taiwan issued a typhoon warning Tuesday for ships traveling through its southern waters. If Nuri stays on its current course, the island could be affected Thursday morning, the Central Weather Bureau said.

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