efe_epaBangkok Desk

At least four people were killed as Typhoon Heima slammed into the northern Philippines Thursday, accompanied by fierce winds and heavy rains that led to the evacuation of thousands.

Two construction workers were killed in the village of La Trinidad, in the hilly Benguet province, after being buried under a landslide, while another two people drowned in the Ifugao province, the Inquirer newspaper reported.

The typhoon, known as Lawin in the Philippines, weakened after making landfall in Cagayan and Isabella provinces in the eastern coast in northern Luzon island, where a maximum alert was issued Wednesday.

Heima, 700 kilometers (435 miles) in diameter, hit northern Luzon - where Pagasa, the Philippine weather bureau, had downgraded the alert to level 3 in 10 provinces Thursday morning - with sustained wind speeds of 185 kph and gusts of 230 kph.

Midday on Thursday, Pagasa located the eye of the hurricane outside Philippine territory, 160 km from Laoag on the western coast of northern Luzon, and expects it to now leave the Philippines and head towards China.

Around 6,000 people were evacuated from Isabella, where winds and heavy rains prompted power cuts and uprooted trees, while several villages were marooned owing to flooded rivers, reported the GMA news channel.

Power cuts and evacuation were also reported from Batanes, Baguio and Ilocos Sur.

Authorities began operations to clear fallen trees blocking several roads, braving strong wind and rain in the area, Cagayan's Camasi village adviser Elisa Arugay told radio station dzMM.

Heima hit the same Philippine region that was affected by the passage of typhoon Sarika over the weekend that had left at least two dead.

The Philippines experiences between 15 and 20 typhoons during the monsoon season, which begins in June and ends in November.

In November 2013, typhoon Haiyan, one of the most destructive storms to have touched land in the Philippines, left 6,300 dead, more than 1,000 missing and 14 million affected in the central part of the country.