MANILA, Philippines – A strong typhoon blowing off the mountainous north of the Philippines forced authorities to close schools in the capital for the second straight day today and disaster-response teams braced for possible floods and landslides. Typhoon Sepat – the Malaysian word for a freshwater fish – was tracked roaring over the Pacific Ocean about 310 miles east of northern Luzon island with sustained winds of 115 mph and gusts of up to 137 miles, the strongest howler to threaten the country this year, forecasters said. Monsoon rains induced by Sepat flooded many parts of Manila on Wednesday, causing monstrous traffic jams and forcing authorities to suspend classes and government work. Schools remained closed Thursday due to fear of more rains. There were no immediate reports of injuries or property damage from the fifth weather disturbance to hit the country this year. More than 220 people were evacuated Wednesday from their flooded homes, mostly in the capital’s flood-prone suburban cities of Marikina, Malabon and San Juan, the National Disaster Coordination Council. If Sepat stays at its current course, the fringe of the storm could affect Taiwan early Friday and possibly make landfall over southeastern Taiwan at night.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Blowing northwestward at 9 mph, Sepat was expected to pass near the northernmost province of Batanes on Saturday before blowing toward southern Taiwan and mainland China, government forecaster Lucrecio About said. Taiwan issued a warning for ships traveling through its southern waters today as the typhoon approached the island. Sepat could still pick up energy as it hovers over the ocean and turn into a super-typhoon with sustained winds of 134 mph, About said. “It’s our strongest typhoon so far this year,” About said. “It can wash out everything not made of cement or steel with that wind.” Typhoon alerts were issued in the northern provinces of Catanduanes, Cagayan and Isabela, where fishermen were warned not to venture out to sea on small seacraft.