Monster typhoon barrels toward north Philippines, China

A member of the Philippine Air Force stands in front of a satellite image of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong, at the National Disaster

A member of the Philippine Air Force stands in front of a satellite image of Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong, at the National Disaster

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, second from left, attends a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong, at the Nationa

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, second from left, attends a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong, at the Nationa

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, second from left, observes the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operation center in metro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, second from left, observes the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operation center in metro

In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, NASA satellite image, Super Typhoon Mangkhut churns west towards the Philippines. Philippine officials have begun e

In this Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, NASA satellite image, Super Typhoon Mangkhut churns west towards the Philippines. Philippine officials have begun e

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center,  and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, left, attend a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhu

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, left, attend a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhu

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte listens during a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong, at the National Disaster R

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte listens during a command conference on Typhoon Mangkhut, locally named Typhoon Ompong, at the National Disaster R

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends a command conference at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operations center in

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends a command conference at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council operations center in

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon Mangkhut has retained its ferocious strength and slightly shifted toward more densely populated coastal provinces as it barrels closer to the northeastern Philippines, where a massive evacuation is underway.

More than 4 million people are at risk from the storm, which the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning Center categorizes as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane.

Forecaster Chris Perez says the typhoon was initially expected to hit the northern tip of Cagayan province but it's now likely to make landfall farther south. He says the shift won't cause much difference because of the typhoon's massive size.

After the Philippines, the Hong Kong Observatory predicts it will plow into the Chinese mainland with sustained winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour.