CAUAYAN, Philippines — The strongest cyclone in years to crash into the Philippines killed at least seven people Monday, leaving a wasteland of fallen trees and power poles and sending thousands scampering to safety in near-zero visibility.
Super Typhoon Megi, blowing across the northern Philippines, was forecast next to head toward China and Vietnam, where recent floods unrelated to the storm have caused 30 deaths.
On Monday, strong currents on Vietnam's flooded main highway swept away a bus and 20 of its passengers, including a boy pulled from his mother's grasp. In China, authorities evacuated 140,000 people from a coastal province ahead of the typhoon.
Megi packed sustained winds of 140 miles per hour and gusts of 162 mph as it made landfall midday at Palanan Bay in Isabela province, felling trees and utility poles and cutting off power, phone and Internet services. Its ferocious wind slightly weakened while crossing the mountains of the Philippines' main northern island of Luzon.
With more than 4,150 Filipinos riding out the typhoon in sturdy school buildings, town halls, churches and relatives' homes, roads in and out of coastal Isabela province, about 200 miles northeast of Manila, were deserted and blocked by collapsed trees, power lines and debris.
Megi was the most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines in four years, forecasters said. A 2006 storm with 155-mph winds killed about 1,000 people.