Philippines Braces for Direct Hit From Typhoon Koppu

ATLANTIC OCEAN - AUGUST 27: In this handout satellite image provided by NASA, Hurricane Irene is seen at 10:10 a.m., about two hours after it made landfall in Cape Lookout, North Carolina, August 27, 2011 in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Irene hit Dare County, which sits along the Outer Banks and includes the vacation towns of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, as a Category 1 hurricane around mid-day. (PHOTO CREDIT: NASA via Getty Images)
ATLANTIC OCEAN – AUGUST 27: In this handout satellite image provided by NASA, Hurricane Irene is seen at 10:10 a.m., about two hours after it made landfall in Cape Lookout, North Carolina, August 27, 2011 in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Irene hit Dare County, which sits along the Outer Banks and includes the vacation towns of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, as a Category 1 hurricane around mid-day. (PHOTO CREDIT: NASA via Getty Images)

A slow-moving typhoon that could bring as much as 6 feet of rain to parts of the Philippines grew stronger as it edged closer to the country.

Typhoon Koppu — which is known as “Lando” in the Philippines — had estimated maximum sustained winds of about 120 mph by 11 p.m. ET Friday, according to the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center. That’s the equivalent of a Category 3 storm.

As of midnight local time Saturday, the storm was located 60 kilometers, or 37 miles, east-southeast of Casiguran, in the Aurora province of the Philippines, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

Light to moderate rain was falling, the agency added, and flash floods and landslides were possible in the coming hours.

The Weather Channel warned of a potential “catastrophic flood threat” from a days-long deluge.

Weather Channel senior digital meteorologist Nick Wiltgen predicted “prolific rainfall as it grinds across the mountains and valleys of Luzon … [which is] home to almost half of the country’s 98 million people.”

He also predicted that Koppu would trace a “painfully slow and dangerously rainy path” across the island.

“Luzon could be looking at 4 to 6 days of heavy rainfall from Koppu/Lando before what’s left of it finally drifts farther north,” he wrote. “With rain rates in tropical cyclones typically in excess of 2 inches per hour and additional lift for the moist air provided by Luzon’s mountainous terrain, extreme storm totals of 20 to 40 inches are likely across much of northern Luzon.”

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SOURCE: NBC News, Elisha Fieldstadt and Jason Cumming