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Typhoon Durian intensifies

/ Source: The Associated Press

Typhoon Durian, packing winds of up to 75 miles per hour, headed toward the eastern Philippines Wednesday where residents braced for possible floods and landslides.

The fourth typhoon to hit the northeastern Philippines in as many months, Durian was expected to intensify further before passing close to Catanduanes island and slamming ashore over Aurora province on Friday, forecasters said.

The Philippine weather bureau warned that the dangerous cyclone — named after the pungent fruit native to Southeast Asia — could become a "super typhoon" with winds of at least 115 mph and could reach metropolitan Manila.

In late September, Typhoon Xangsane left 230 people dead and missing in and around Manila. Typhoon Cimaron killed 19 people and injured 58 others late last month, and earlier this month, Chebi sliced through the central Luzon region, killing one.

About 20 typhoons and tropical storms lash the Philippines each year.

Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi city in northeastern Albay province, one of the areas ravaged by the previous typhoons, said disaster response agencies were working overtime to prepare for possible emergencies.

"Electric power hasn't even been restored to some villages. But now that the threat is here, we have no choice but to prepare," Rosal told Manila Radio DZRH.

In central Sorsogon province, Mayor Guillermo So said the coast guard barred ferries from leaving ports to prevent accidents.