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Cyclone Noul hits the Philippines hard

A powerful cyclone Noul slammed into the northern parts of the Philippines this weekend, civil defence officials said. Two people were killed, a lot less than expected.

Many of the people who evacuated from the storm’s path started to return home late Sunday night, after Noul — the fourth and strongest storm to hit the Philippines so far this year with wind gusts of up to 220kmh.

People listened to the warnings after learning lessons from past storms, the state weather bureau said the winds were strong enough to stir storm surges, uproot trees, blow roofs off houses, topple lamp posts and destroy crops.

There have been no immediate reports of heavy damage. In the coastal town of Santa Ana, strong winds broke power lines and peeled off palm thatch roofs.

Still, up to 700 people did not leave their seaside huts until the winds started to blow violently on Sunday, he added.

At least five towns were without power. Most of the 3,000 people who left coastal fishing villages in the provinces of Isabela and Cagayan have started to return home.

Authorities feared Noul’s heavy rains would trigger volcanic mud flows.

Bulusan has had two minor ash explosions since May 1.

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