A “super typhoon” in the Philippines has left one person dead as the north of the country is hit by torrential rains and winds of more than 225km/h (140mph).

Typhoon Megi is described as the most powerful storm seen in the Philippines in four years and thousands of people have fled their homes to escape its path. Emergency services are on high alert and schools are closed in many areas.

The storm claimed its first victim today after a fisherman drowned in the city of Tuguegarao, Benito Ramos, the nation’s civil-defence chief, said.

Super typhoon

Megi has been dubbed a “super-typhoon” by government relief agencies. This means the storm has been classified as Category Five – the most serious on the scale.

Tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean are called typhoons, but are classified on a scale of one to five in the same way as Atlantic Ocean hurricanes.

Philippines on high alert

Typhoon Megi is not expected to hit Manila, the capital of the Philippines, but authorities have warned the city’s 12 million residents to remain on alert.

Schools were closed and thousands of people were evacuated across the north of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon in advance of the storm, rescue and relief officials said.

Sea travel has been banned as government forecasters say waves off the east coast could be greater than 14m (46ft). The coast guard has been instructed to forbid all fishing vessels from setting out to sea in the north, says AFP news agency.

Farmers have been urged to harvest as many of their crops as possible before the typhoon hits.

Fears are that heavy rain and high winds will damage buildings, power supplies and agriculture in the Philippines’ main corn and rice-producing region.