MANILA, July 16 (UPI) -- Typhoon Rammasun left the Philippines' northern island of Luzon Wednesday, after causing the deaths of 10 people and the evacuation of thousands.
Winds of 150 to 185 kph (81 to 115 mph) interrupted electricity, uprooted trees and damaged homes as the eye of the storm passed south of the capital city of Manila, affecting over 400,000 people. Although flooding was reported in the city, the wind was the predominant cause of damage, Raymund Liboro of the national Department of Science and Technology said.
The typhoon's wind speed is accelerating as it leaves the Philippines and heads for the contested areas of the South China Sea. China announced a controversial oil-drilling rig near the Parcel Islands, in the sea, will be moved in anticipation of expected 230 kph (143 mph) winds.
The state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation announced earlier this week its exploratory oil project in the South China Sea was completed, a month ahead of schedule. The finish of the project, and the approaching storm, provide China with an appropriate cover to move the rig from waters contested by Vietnam and China.
"Partly because of this new typhoon, which is not heading directly to where the rig is but will bring bad weather, and China has over 100 ships surrounding it, and it could prove very risky, especially for smaller boats. So this typhoon provides an opportunity to stand down earlier," said Carl Thayer of the Australian Defense Force Academy.