Tropical Storm Durian gained strength in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippine island of Luzon and is heading in a westerly direction toward the archipelago, a U.S. Navy weather agency said.
Durian, with maximum sustained winds of 101 kilometers an hour (63 miles per hour), was located 1,274 kilometers east of the city of Tacloban on Leyte island at 2 a.m. Philippines time, according to the U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center Web site.
Winds are gusting to 129 kilometers an hour as the storm heads west at 18 kilometers per hour. It is forecast to strengthen into a typhoon later today. Durian is a type of tropical fruit.
Typhoons and tropical storms regularly hit the Philippines and eight have reached shore this year including Typhoon Cimaron, which slammed into Luzon last month with 175 kilometers per hour winds, leaving at least eight people dead. Typhoon Xangsane hit the Philippines capital, Manila, and surrounding areas in October, leaving as many as 200 people dead or missing.
Durian is forecast to turn to the west-northwest as it approaches Luzon, the Philippines main island. The storm’s winds are forecast to strengthen to 221 kilometers per hour by the early hours of Nov. 30, making it a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale of 1 to 5.