A massive typhoon made landfall in the southern Philippines early Tuesday amid fears that it could be worse than a 2011 storm that killed more than 1,200 people.
Typhoon Bopha struck the southern island of Mindanao shortly before 4:45 a.m. (5:45 p.m. Monday ET), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center reported.
The storm packed top winds of 175 kph (110 mph) as it came ashore over the city of Baganga, and millions of people -- many of whom live in remote and unprepared communities -- were in the storm's path, Philippine authorities and aid groups said.
The tightly packed but powerful storm threatened to bring devastating flash floods, landslides and flooding to coastal regions. High winds could blast some homes into sticks, uproot trees and cut power for days, government officials warned.
The storm had moved about 50 km inland by 8 a.m., the Phillipine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration reported.
The storm, dubbed "Pablo" in the Philippines, blew up into a super typhoon at one point Monday, with sustained winds greater than 240 kph -- the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported. That wind speed is two and a half times the top winds of Severe Tropical Storm Washi, known in the Philippines as Sendong, which wiped out entire villages in the same region a year ago.
"Many emotional people in (Mindanao) trying to prepare for Pablo with Sendong fresh in their minds," childrens' charity Plan International's Philippines director, Carin van der Hor, wrote Monday on Twitter.