Aquino: Typhoon Ruby not as strong as Yolanda

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said Friday that Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) is expected to be less powerful than Yolanda (Haiyan), which struck Visayas last year.

Aquino said he asked Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo regarding Ruby's strength following a newspaper report that it could be as powerful as Yolanda, which left over 6,300 people dead.

"Up until yesterday (Wednesday) at the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council ) briefing, there was no indication or official analysis predicting that Ruby would be Yolanda-like in strength. At best, if Ruby struck, its strength would be more comparable to Pablo," Aquino said, referring to another weather disturbance that hit Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental in December 2012.

He noted that Yolanda's maximum sustain winds based on some reports were pegged at about 300 kilometers per hour.

As of Friday afternoon, the state weather bureau said Ruby was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 195 kilometers per hour, down from 215 kph.

Ruby is expected to make landfall in northern or eastern Samar by Saturday evening.

Metro Manila local government units are on alert status as the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Ruby may cross the capital on Wednesday, December 10.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said full evacuation of people living low-lying areas and in the areas near water bodies if the need arises. (SDR/Third Anne Peralta/Sunnex)

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