VIGAN, Philippines — Typhoon Haima weakened and blew out to sea Thursday after smashing into the northern Philippines with ferocious wind and rain overnight. Flooding, landslides, and power outages were evident, but a large number of casualties appeared to have been averted after nearly 100,000 people fled to safer ground. At least seven deaths were reported.
Haima’s blinding winds and rain had rekindled fears of the catastrophe wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, but there were no immediate reports of any major damage. Several villages are cut off by fallen trees, landslides, and floods, impeding communications and aid.
Although storms are a part of life in the country’s north, many villagers were still horrified by Haima’s fury.
‘‘In my age, I’m 60 years old, this is the strongest typhoon I have ever seen,’’ village councilor Willie Cabalteja said in Vigan city in Ilocos Sur province. ‘‘We haven’t slept. Trees were forced down, houses lost their roofs, and fences and metal sheets were flying around all night.’’
Two construction workers died when a landslide buried their shanty in La Trinidad town in the mountain province of Benguet, officials said, while two villagers perished in another landslide and another was swept away in a river and remains missing in Ifugao province, near Benguet. A 70-year-old man died apparently of a heart attack in an emergency shelter while another man died after being pinned by a tree.
Haima, with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, hit northeastern Cagayan province late Wednesday then barreled northwestward before blowing out into the South China Sea. Although weakening, the typhoon was expected to blow toward China.
After dawn, the extent of damage in Cagayan and nearby regions became evident, with overturned vans, toppled or leaning electric posts, and debris blocking roads. Most stores, their window panes shattered and canopies shredded by the wind, were closed.