Reuters International

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines ordered the evacuation of northern coastal, low-lying and mountainous areas on Wednesday as the strongest typhoon to threaten in three years was due to make landfall later in the day.

Typhoon Haima has been labelled a category 5 storm on a scale of 1 to 5 by Tropical Storm Risk and could cause flooding, landslides and storm surges of up to five metres (16.5 ft), the weather bureau said.

Some flights and classes have been suspended and the Philippine Coast Guard has banned sea travel and fishing. The weather bureau raised storm warning signals for the northern and eastern parts of main island of Luzon, home to industrial and export centres.

"The typhoon is very strong and destructive because of its large diameter," said Rene Paciente, assistant weather services chief at the weather bureau.

Haima is the 12th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. An average of 20 typhoons hit the Southeast Asian nation every year.

Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines in 2013, killing at least 6,000 people.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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 Reuters International