Super typhoon Megi slammed into the northern Philippines this weekend.
Megi packed sustained winds of 140 miles-per-hour has caused huge waves and brought strong rains with it. Forecasters say it's the most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippine Islands in four years.
The typhoon made landfall midday Monday at Palanan Bay in Isabela province, felling trees and utility poles and cutting off power, phone and Internet services in many areas.
There was zero visibility and radio reports said the wind was so powerful that people could not take more than a step at a time. Ships and fishing vessels were told to stay in ports, and several domestic and international flights were canceled.
Thousands of military reserve officers and volunteers were on standby, along with helicopters, including six Chinooks that were committed by U.S. troops holding war exercises with Filipino soldiers near Manila, said Benito Ramos, a top disaster-response official.
"This is like preparing for war," Ramos, a retired army general, told The Associated Press. "We know the past lessons, and we're aiming for zero casualties."
In 2006, a similar storm triggered mudslides that buried entire villages, killing an estimated 1,000 people.
Megi is headed for southern China, where floods triggered by heavy rains already have forced more than 140,000 people to evacuate their homes.
China's National Meteorological Center said Megi was expected to enter the South China Sea on Tuesday, threatening southeasterern coastal provinces. The center issued its second-highest alert for potential "wild winds and huge waves," warning vessels to take shelter and urging authorities to brace for emergencies.
The storm could eventually hit Vietnam, where at least 24 people have died as a result of flooding in recent days.