Typhoon Hanna maintains strength, barrels toward Taiwan

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Taiwan started evacuation with Typhoon Soudelor expected to make landfall on Saturday. The coast of Hualien in Taiwan, August 7, 2015.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Typhoon Hanna (international name: Soudelor) is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Saturday (August 8), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said on Friday (August 7).

The storm is predicted to move west northwest at 20 kph, and make landfall at Taiwan by Saturday.

As of 4 p.m., the typhoon's eye was located 335 km northeast of Itbayat, Batanes. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 165 kph and gustiness of up to 200 kph, PAGASA said in its 5 p.m. severe weather bulletin.

Hanna is estimated to bring moderate to heavy rainfall within its 750 km diameter.

Signal No. 2 was raised over the province of Batanes, including Itbayat. The Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands, and Northern Cagayan were placed under Signal No. 1.

Storm surges about 4.1 to 14 meters high are expected at coastal areas under Signal No. 2.

The southwest monsoon or "habagat" is affecting Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, and Visayas. PAGASA advised fisherfolk not to venture out over the seaboards of Luzon, Visayas, and Eastern Mindanao.

Taiwan gears up

With the expected landfall of the typhoon on Saturday, Taiwan has started making preparations in advance.

A report by CNN said thousands of fishing vessels and ships were already brought in, and evacuation has started in some of the country's perimeter islands.

Flights and school classes were also canceled, Reuters reported.

The Taiwan coast guard said two died while one person is missing due to rough waters off the coast of Taiwan's northeastern Yilan county, the report added.

The storm is expected to hit Fujian, China after it crosses the Taiwan Strait.