LEGAZPI, Philippines — A weakened Typhoon Hagupit was crawling toward Manila on Monday, expected to dump heavy rainfall as it slowly crosses the northern Philippines after leaving four dead and mass flooding in its wake.
Downgraded to a tropical storm, Hagupit weakened further overnight Sunday — with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and gusts of up to 86 mph — according to the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Moving northwest at about 7 mph, it was about 145 miles southeast of Manila at 11 a.m. local time on Monday (10 p.m. Sunday ET).
Several dozen areas were placed under storm signals and could experience flashfloods, landslides and storm surges between 6 and 10 feet, The Philippines Star reported, citing PAGASA, the national weather bureau. Some 194 international and domestic flights were canceled on Monday, according to the Star.
More than 1 million people had fled to shelters by the time Hagupit — Filipino for "smash" or "lash" — made landfall Saturday night, Reuters reported. The eye hit the town of Dolores in Eastern Samar around 9:15 p.m. local time (8:15 a.m. ET) on Saturday. After Hagupit hammered Eastern Samar province, part of a region that was devastated by last year’s Typhoon Haiyan — which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing — it moved across the island before making a second landfall on the island of Masbate.
Hagupit was expected to make a third landfall in Northern Mindoro on Monday night as it passed near metro Manila, the Star reported.
More than 3,000 people living in a shantytown on the edge of Manila Bay have been evacuated because of possible storm surges. Manila residents were still troubled by the monster storm of Haiyan and were readily moving to safety, said Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. "That's still very fresh in their minds," he said.
Hundreds of Thousands Evacuated as Typhoon Nears PhilippinesDec. 5, 201401:35
Hagupit triggered mass flooding, power outages and crumpled hundreds of homes over the weekend, but early signs showed the islands appear to have been spared the vast devastation wrought by Haiyan — though officials warned assessments were still underway.
Hundreds of thousands of people started heading home after Hagupit passed over but some were encountering impassable floodwaters. One of those areas was Jipapad, a town of 7,000 in Eastern Samar.
"Our problem is power. Food is a problem because boats cannot leave," Delia Monleon, the town’s mayor, told Reuters. "It was flooded yesterday, so we can't leave to look for food."
Disaster relief group Feed the Children said it was expecting as many as 30,000 people would need assistance in the storm’s immediate aftermath, and expected Leyte and Samar to be among the hardest-hit areas.
"This is the same location where families were displaced last year" after Haiyan, the organization's Philippines director, Esperanza Abellana, told NBC News. "It could be worse than that, but we'll need about 24 hours before we can make a complete assessment. The power is down; the Internet is not very good."
Power was cut across most of the eastern island of Samar and nearby Leyte province, including Tacloban City, considered ground zero of Haiyan last year.
"I can't penetrate the areas. I can't go north or south because of fallen trees and power lines. Many areas are flooded," Ben Evardone, who represents Eastern Samar in the Philippine Congress, told Reuters from his base in the provincial capital, Borongan.
Army troops were deployed to supermarkets and major roads in provinces in the typhoon's path to prevent looting and chaos and clear debris, all of which slowed the government's response last year, said Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, head of the Philippines' 120,000-strong military.
— NBC News' Miranda Leitsinger, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.