Intense rain and strong winds are starting to sweep across the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit prepares to make landfall.
Strong winds have already felled trees in the east of the country as the storm threatens to leave a wave of destruction in its wake.
Power has been cut across most of the central Philippine island of Samar and nearby Leyte province, with a local official saying "the wind is blowing so strongly, it's like it is whirling."
A wildlife photographer, taken hostage by Islamist rebels in the Philippines, has escaped after killing one of his guards with a machete.Read the full story ›
More than half a million people have taken shelter in evacuation centres across the Philippines as the country braces for Typhoon Hagupit, but the buildings they fled to may not be safe according to an international relief agency.
Refugees International told Reuters: "A damage assessment of designated evacuation centres in typhoon-affected areas indicated that in some places - such as Eastern Samar, where Hagupit is headed - less than 10 percent of evacuation centres were likely to withstand future typhoons."
More than 616,000 people have fled from low-lying villages and landslide-prone areas in the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit sweeps towards the eastern coast of the country today.
According to the national disaster agency people are taking shelter in schools, civic centres, town halls, gyms and churches as the storm approaches.
Typhoon Hagupit has been downgraded to the category just below 'super typhoon' but is still expected to bring torrential rain and potentially disastrous storm surges of up to 4.5 meters.
Satellite images from the Philippines' official meteorological organisation show the progress of Typhoon Hagupit as it approaches the island nation.
The eye of the storm, known locally as Ruby, appears to be headed towards the Legaspi area, according to images published by PAGASA (the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services).
Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo has warned people to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Around half a million people have fled coastal villages in the Philippines to take shelter in special evacuation centres, ahead of the arrival of a powerful typhoon expected to land tomorrow.
Typhoon Hagupit has weakened slightly, dropping it below the level five ‘super-typhoon’ category, but people on the island are still braced for major destruction when it hits.
More than 150 flights to the country have been cancelled, while ports have been closed down after the coastguard suspended sea travel.
Satellite imagery shows Super Typhoon Hagupit as it approaches the eastern coast of the Philippines.
According to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC), the storm has already reached its strongest intensity, but it will still be a Category 4 Typhoon when it strikes land.
This means the storm is expected to produce winds between 131 mph and 155 mph.
However the JTWC says the typhoon will continue to weaken once it hits land.
Tens of thousands people have fled coastal villages and landslide-prone areas in the central Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit bears down on the island nation.
Ports were shut across the country, leaving more than 2,000 travellers stranded after the coastguard suspended sea travel ahead of the storm.
Areas yet to recover from last year's category 5 "super typhoon" Haiyan, also known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, could be in the firing line again, the local weather bureau said.
A year after the deadliest tropical storm ever to hit the Philippines, thousands of people are still living in makeshift shacks as the typhoon season once again approaches.
At least 6,200 people lost their lives when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit, more than 1,785 were reported as missing.
ITV News Presenter Mark Austin returned to one of the worst-hit areas, the fishing villages of Tacloban, where despite government promises to move them, people are still stranded in the typhoon danger zone.