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In The Philippines, More Than 1 Million Flee Typhoon Hagupit

A Filipino typhoon victim pleads for help in the town of Taft, Samar island, Philippines, on Sunday, after Typhoon Hagupit knocked out power and flattened houses there. Francis R. Malasig/EPA/Landov hide caption

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Francis R. Malasig/EPA/Landov

A Filipino typhoon victim pleads for help in the town of Taft, Samar island, Philippines, on Sunday, after Typhoon Hagupit knocked out power and flattened houses there.

Francis R. Malasig/EPA/Landov

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

More than 1 million people have fled to shelters before the power of Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines today, which has killed at least three people.

The raging winds toppled trees, tore away roofs and knocked out power in a region hit by a killer storm just over a year ago.

Simone Orendain, reporting for NPR from the capital, Manila, says Hagupit has "left roof-high flooding in the country's easternmost province, where it first landed Saturday night. It also knocked out power in dozens of cities across at least eight provinces. The storm ripped up trees and also tore apart a few houses."

A house is roofless after strong winds from Typhoon Hagupit hit Tacloban City on the island of Leyte on Sunday. Kyodo/Landov hide caption

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Kyodo/Landov

A house is roofless after strong winds from Typhoon Hagupit hit Tacloban City on the island of Leyte on Sunday.

Kyodo/Landov

The storm, known locally as Ruby, weakened from a Category 4 typhoon to a category 2 overnight, appears to be far less devastating than Typhoon Haiyan from November 2013 — but still terrifying to the island nation's residents. The U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts winds still gusting to 90 mph when the storm's center passed over Manila.

United Nations experts said it was one of the world's largest peacetime evacuations, the Mirror reports.

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Some homes damaged by Hagupit had only been recently rebuilt after Haiyan, which is believed to be the strongest cyclone ever to make landfall.

Sustained winds dropped to 87 mph, with gusts up to 105 mph, NBC News said, down from 130 mph gusts as the storm made landfall on Saturday in Eastern Samar, the region where Haiyan killed thousands last year.

The AP reports:

"Rhea Estuna, a 29-year-old mother of one, fled Thursday to an evacuation center in Tacloban — the city hardest-hit by Haiyan last year — and waited in fear as Hagupit's wind and rain lashed the school where she and her family sought refuge. When she peered outside Sunday, she said she saw a starkly different aftermath than the one she witnessed last year after Haiyan struck.

"'There were no bodies scattered on the road, no big mounds of debris,' Estuna told The Associated Press by cellphone. 'Thanks to God this typhoon wasn't as violent.'"

Officials say at least three people have been killed in the storm — one by a falling tree and two others from hypothermia.

"The devastation in homes is huge because of the strong winds," Philippine Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas told local radio DzBB, according to the BBC. "Many people voluntarily returned to evacuate centres tonight... because they do not have homes anymore."

The massive storm is due to make a third landfall before dawn Monday local time, the Philippine weather service PAGASA told the media.