Typhoon Bopha Rips Southern Philippines

December 6, 2012; 5:34 AM ET
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Aftermath of Typhoon Bopha in Butuan city, Mindanao, Philippines. Residents assess their damaged home Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Erwin Mascarinas)

Powerful Typhoon Bopha has torn its way through the southern Philippines with winds as high as 130 mph at landfall.

The storm left at least eight people dead, according to the Manila Times website, which also told of an unconfirmed toll of 43 dead in one hard-hit town alone.

Fears were the death toll would go much higher, the Times said.

More than 50,000 fled the storm's wrath, The Australian website said.

More than 33 more people are feared dead after floodwaters hit one of the evacuation shelters, the Australian ABC News website said.

The shelter was in the Compostela Valley province of Mindanao, the island that bore the brunt of the storm's fearsome winds and flooding rain.

In the same province, a soldier was killed and 20 villagers were missing have a mountain torrent swept away a truck, The Australian said.

By Tuesday evening, local time, the center of the weakened Typhoon Bopha was near the southern end of Negros, about 350 miles south of Manila, heading towards the west-northwest at about 15 mph.

Bopha, keeping well south of Manila, was on track to clip the southwestern island of Palawan before entering the open South China Sea.

Some authorities likened Bopha to a cyclone that struck the island last December.

Tropical Storm Washi killed more than 1,200 people after unleashing severe flooding on Mindanao.

As Bopha bore down from the east, it was upgraded by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) to a "super typhoon", having Category-5 equivalent top sustained winds of about 160 mph.

It was the second stint of super typhoon status for Bopha, the other being on Sunday, as Bopha menaced Palau.

Forecasters in the Philippines dubbed the storm "Pablo."


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