UPDATE 1-Storm Nock-Ten exits Philippines, 25 dead

Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:34am GMT
 

(Adds details, death toll rises to 25)

MANILA, July 27 (Reuters) - Tropical storm Nock-Ten moved out of northern areas of the Philippines' main island Luzon on Wednesday after killing 25 people, disaster and weather officials said.

Nock-Ten, the tenth storm to hit the poor Southeast Asian country this year, spared major rice-producing provinces, caused only minor damage to rice farms and coconut-growing areas when it hit land mid-morning on Wednesday.

"We expect more rains in the country's western seaboard because storm Nock-Ten has intensified the southwest monsoon," Graciano Yumul, head of the state weather bureau, told a news conference.

As of 4 p.m. [0800 GMT], storm Nock-Ten weakened slightly though was still gusting up to 100 kph (62 mph).

It was expected to move out to the South China Sea late on Wednesday, Yumul said, adding storm alert levels had been lowered in the capital.

Yumul said two more storms were developing in the Pacific and may affect the country in the next few days.

Schools and some public offices were closed on Wednesday, but domestic flights to the central and southern Philippines were operating normally after disruptions on Tuesday. Ferry operations were still suspended.

At least 10 people were earlier reported killed by drowning, landslides and falling trees caused by the storm, which brought gusts of up to 100 kph (62 mph)

More than 645,000 people have been affected by the storm, tens of thousands of whom sought temporary shelter in schools and public buildings, said Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year, killing people and destroying infrastructure, property and crops. The typhoons have been striking with greater intensity in recent years. (Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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