Typhoon Conson sliced through the Philippines' main island of Luzon, killing 22 people, felling trees and snapping transmission lines that could leave millions without power for at least two days, officials said on Wednesday.
Twelve people were injured and 57 reported missing as the storm packing winds of 95 kph (59 mph) roared off towards China.
Guillermo Redoblado, spokesman for the national grid corporation, said it would take two to three days to repair at least five major lines after cables and wires were cut on Tuesday night by falling trees, posts and strong winds.
"The 2-3 days estimate is very conservative because we have not completed our assessment," Redoblado told ANC television, adding about 850 megawatts of capacity would be restored in the next 24-48 hours.
"By the end of the day, we can say half of the requirements of Meralco will be provided for."
Meralco provides electricity to 4.7 million households in the capital and six nearby provinces.
Provinces neighbouring the capital were hit harder by Conson, which weakened to a tropical storm after reaching Luzon but still had gusts of up to 120 kph.
Reports on damage from outlying areas were kept sketchy by unreliable communications.
In the central province of Camarines Norte, four people drowned at sea, two were killed by falling trees, and 40 were missing, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said.
Eight of 19 fisherman missing since Tuesday night were found, but 11 remained unaccounted for, the army said.
Fifteen people were killed in five provinces south of Manila and another man died north of the capital, local officials said.
Conson was expected to reach southern China in 24-48 hours, the weather bureau said. it was expected to regain strength as it moved over the South China Sea.
Storm leashes China
Ahead of the typhoon, heavy rain lashed southern China, where more than 400 have died in floods this year. The government said parts of the Yangtze River had reached warning levels.
Other regions also suffered from inclement weather.
Near the remote western city of Golmud, soliders had completed an emergency channel to drain an overfilled reservoir, which, if it burst, could send a wall of water cascading into the streets, Xinhua news agency said.
Anqing city in the central province of Anhui was partially submerged after receiving the heaviest rain in five decades.
Xinhua said waters had risen sharply in the city's Daguan district "turning streets into rivers and cutting communications, and power and gas supplies".
Across Manila and surrounding provinces, the storm knocked over trees, covered roads in debris and stopped train services.
Hundreds of families moved to temporary shelter due to flash floods.
The Agriculture Department said it was too early to make an assessment of any damage to rice and coconut crops.
Philippine financial markets opened as normal on Wednesday, showing little reaction to the storm as buildings in the central business district were powered by back-up generators.
The stock market rose 1.1 percent to its highest close in 2-½ years, lifted by broad gains in Asian stocks.
President Benigno Aquino III scolded the weather bureau for inaccurate forecasts at a meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council at the main army base in Manila.
"That information is sorely lacking and we have had this problem for quite a long time," Aquino told the weather bureau.
"You do what you are supposed to do and this is not acceptable. I hope this is the last time that we are brought to areas different from where we should be."
Dozens of flights were suspended or diverted from Manila's main airport. Schools were closed and some government offices suspended operations as the country began cleaning up the debris left by Conson, known locally as Basyang.
Typhoons and tropical storms regularly hit the Philippines, China, Taiwan and Japan in the second half of the year, gathering strength from the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean or South China Sea before normally weakening over land.
Last year, Typhoon Ketsana, known in the Philippines as Ondoy, dumped record rain that submerged 80 percent of the capital region and nearby areas, killing 277 people, leaving tens of thousands homeless and causing more than $100 million of damage to crops, infrastructure and property.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 14 Temmuz 2010, 16:37