Local Filipino community praying for loved ones as powerful typhoon moves through the Philippines

SAN DIEGO - In San Diego, thousands of Filipinos are praying for loved ones as the powerful Typhoon Haiyan races across the Philippines.

Members of St. Michael Catholic Church in Paradise Hills -- whose congregation is 90 percent Filipino-American -- gathered Thursday to pray for relatives and friends living in the Philippines.

The storm hitting the country stretches about 300 miles wide with winds that measured up to 147 mph. Video footage obtained by 10News showed heavy rain, strong winds and debris flying in the air.

Marissa Acierto of Paradise Hills said her friend Sherry was in the path of the typhoon. Acierto received an e-mail from Sherry Tuesday, but she hasn't heard from her since.

"She said, 'Hi, I'm ok Marissa. The internet was down for a week and we had a brown-out (blackout) after heavy rains. Thunder and lightning, tornadoes hit the mall and some buildings.  Then Friday we have to prep up for SuperTyphoon coming our way,'" said Acierto.

Just a year ago, a weaker typhoon left 1,900 dead. Fears were much greater Friday and millions of people braced for the worst.

Jenny Vida said she feared many of her relatives were in danger.

“They're panicking right now, I'm telling them, 'Just pray; don't worry too much,'" said Vida.

Vida said she does not know if her relatives were able to get to a shelter.

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