The Philippines is bracing for a stormy Christmas on Sunday (25 December) as typhoon Nock-ten, locally called Nina, strengthened as it approached the central part of the country. The super storm is set to make landfall in Catanduanes province on the Bicol peninsula, prompting authorities to move thousands of people to safety.

The typhoon was reported to be gaining maximum sustained winds of 185kmph with gusts up to 255kmph as it moved west over the ocean at 15kmph, according to the latest bulletin of the national disaster agency, the Inquirer reported. Authorities have already issued a warning against the approaching typhoon.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), which is running an hourly update of the typhoons approach on its website, said in a statement that the typhoon is expected to make landfall in the evening.

The storm will bring moderate to heavy rainfall within a 500km diameter. The bulletin cautioned against sea travel over the seaboards of Luzon.

It also cautioned that a storm surge of up to 2.5 metres is possible over the coastal areas of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

Nina was last located at 150km east of Virac, Catanduanes, moving westward at 15 kph, the Inquirer wrote.

In October, the country was hit by another super storm, Haima that caused heavy destruction in northern Philippines.

Typhoon in Philippines
After Typhoon Haima (in picture) wreaked havoc in northern Philippines in October, the country is bracing for a stormy Christmas Day with typhoon Nock-ten, locally called Nina, approaching the country with high winds and gusts - File photo Reuters/Stringer