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Residents walk past their destroyed homes in Hernani town, Eastern Samar province, on Thursday, after Super Typhoon Rai pummeled the southern and central regions of the Philippines. Photo by Alren Beronio/AFP via Getty Images

Super Typhoon Rai has killed at least three people after lashing the central and southern Philippines, officials said Friday, per AP.

Threat level: The storm that's equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane is the strongest typhoon to make landfall in the Philippines this year — causing over 300,000 people to evacuate coastal areas as it triggered flooding, communications and power outages and uprooted trees Thursday, AFP notes.

  • Officials said the outages were hindering rescue efforts and fallen trees and debris were blocking roads, according to AP.

The big picture: Rai was packing maximum sustained winds of 121 mph with gusts of 150 mph as it lashed coastal communities before slightly weakening after making landfall in Surigao del Norte province's Siargao Island.

  • It still had sustained winds of 96 mph with gusts of up to 133 mph as it headed toward the western Palawan province before heading into the South China Sea, AP reports.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

U.S. records most hurricane-force wind reports in single day

Picture of an overturned truck on I-80 in Lincoln, Nebraska on Dec. 15, 2021. (Nebraska State Highway Patrol via Twitter)

A massive, multi-hazard storm unprecedented for mid-December in the Plains and Upper Midwest affected nearly 100 million people from New Mexico to Wisconsin on Wednesday into Wednesday night.

Why it matters: The latest storm is yet another demonstration that the dial on the extreme weather meter has gone all the way to 11 during 2021. Many of the events this year, including this one, bear the hallmarks of climate change.

5 hours ago - Sports

Novak Djokovic loses Australian visa appeal

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening, facing a three-year visa ban after an appeals court in the country revoked his visa.

Driving the news: Djokovic will not be able to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts in Melbourne. The World No. 1 is looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.

6 hours ago - Health

America struggles to keep schools open

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Omicron continues to spread, schools across the U.S. are struggling with teacher shortages that have forced them to consolidate classes and lean on administrative staff to fill in as substitutes.

Why it matters: School closures and virtual classes can do lasting damage to kids' academic achievement — but so can some of the accommodations schools have had to make in order to stay open.