The “super” typhoon slammed into the Luzon coast in Isabela province east of the city of Tuguegarao with wind gusts of more than 160 mph.
“The waves in Maconacon were as big as houses and swamped the town plaza facing the Pacific Ocean,” Isabela governor Faustino Dy told radio station DZBB.
He estimated that nearly 250,000 acres of rice and corn crops had been destroyed across the key agricultural province due to flash flooding unleashed by the storm.
Other provincial officials said Megi was the worst typhoon to strike in nearly 20 years. They added that significant loss of life was only averted due to evacuations of low-lying areas prior to the typhoon’s arrival.
The storm was weakened significantly by its passage over Luzon Island, but it regained strength over the South China Sea and was taking aim on China’s northern Guangdong province late in the week.
“It’s one of the biggest in recent years,” said Kong Wai, a scientific officer with the Hong Kong Observatory. He predicted it would make landfall on Saturday, but weaken to Category 2 force before arriving.
Fishing vessels were returning to port and oil platforms in eastern parts of the South China Sea were being evacuated as Megi approached.
Tropical Storm Megi Track
Satellite Loop Data: CIMSS