A tropical storm barrelling towards the Philippines has gained strength and could further intensify into a typhoon before hitting the country on Christmas Day, the weather bureau said on Friday.
Tropical Storm Nock-Ten was packing maximum sustained winds of 105 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 130 kph as it moved closer to the eastern Philippines, it added.
The storm was moving west/north-west at 25 kilometres per hour and was projected to hit the counry's east cost by Sunday afternoon or evening, bringing heavy rains and strong winds.
An average of 20 typhoons batter the Philippines every year. In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people and left more than a thousand missing in the eastern Philippines.
Haiyan, the worst to hit the archipelago in decades, was one of the most powerful storms in the world to make landfall.
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