Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Brace For Pablo’s Fury, LGUs Told; Signals Up Over 42 Areas

source: mb.com.ph

MANILA, Philippines --- Several areas in the Visayas and Mindanao were placed under storm warning signals Monday as local government units in the path of the cyclone were ordered to prepare for typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) which is expected to make landfall in Surigao del Sur at around 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. today.
The typhoon is moving west-northwest at 26 kilometers per hour (kph), packing maximum winds of 175 kph and gusts of up to 210 kph on Monday afternoon. It was located at 390 kilometers southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur Monday morning, said Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather forecaster Jori Loiz.

 “Public storm warning signals have been raised over several areas even if people are still experiencing good weather in these areas as of Monday morning. The strength of the typhoon could be felt within 24 hours. We are giving the public a lead time for them to prepare,” Loiz said. Signal No. 3 was hoisted over Surigao del Norte, Siargao Island, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Province, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, and Samal Island. Areas under Signal No. 2 were Southern Leyte, Bohol, Southern Cebu, Negros Oriental and Siquijor, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, North Cotabato, and Zamboanga del Norte Under Signal No. 1 are Northern Palawan, Calamian Group of Islands, Cuyo Island, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte, Biliran, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, rest of Cebu, Camotes Island, Zamboanga del Sur, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and South Cotabato. Loiz warned that these areas will experience heavy to intense rains (15 to 30 millimeters) and strong winds (45 kph to 185 kph) within 24 hours from Monday After it makes landfall over Surigao del Sur, he said Pablo will cross Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Panay Island. Loiz said Pablo will weaken slightly after crossing the Visayas. It will further weaken after passing northern Palawan-Mindoro area on its way to the West Philippine Sea by Thursday. Light to moderate rains will prevail over Southern Tagalog, including Metro Manila, due to the enhanced northeast monsoon or hanging amihan by Thursday, he also said. “Pablo” is expected in the vicinity of Cagayan de Oro City by Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday afternoon, it will be 110 km southwest of Iloilo City and 330 km west of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro by Thursday afternoon. Loiz said Pablo will likely leave the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) by Thursday. He also said they are looking into the possible dissipation of the typhoon by Friday. PAGASA Weather Forecasting Section chief Rene Paciente warned residents in areas that will be affected by the typhoon to brace for heavy rains and strong winds. Based on the climatological history, he cited that Mindanao is visited by tropical cyclone once in 10 years.

 “We had two tropical cyclones in two consecutive years in Mindanao, last year was storm Sendong. One of the reasons for this occurrence is climate change but we still do not know the main reason yet,” he added. As this developed, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas ordered the activation of disaster monitoring systems in several regions and put concerned agencies on alert. Roxas called on the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and barangay officials to strengthen their information dissemination efforts so that fisherfolk will not sail during the typhoon.

 While Pablo has yet to make a landfall, the 1,685 passengers were already reported stranded in the ports affected by the storm. In a report compiled by Coast Guard headquarters in Manila, there were 1,064 passengers stranded in Manila North and South Harbor while the rest were in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte.

 The PCG said two vessels were prevented from the leaving the Manila ports. These were supposedly en route to the Visayas region. “Seventeen vessels were not allowed to sail under Coast Guard stations in Cebu, Tagbilaran (Bohol), and Siquijor,” the Coast Guard said. Pablo stranded a total of 54 rolling cargoes and 10 motor boats in the affected ports, the PCG said. Rear Admiral Luis Tuason Jr., Coast Guard officer-in-charge and vice commandant for operations, gave instructions to PCG units “to closely monitor the weather situation.” In the Carag region, all sea and river crafts, both cargoes and passengers were halted to avert any untoward incident. The PCG regional command and tactical operation center said no “seacraft or even river craft are allowed to leave from any port in all places in Northeastern Mindanao” (Caraga region) as Signal No. 3 was already raised at 12:30 p.m. yesterday.

 “Wala na tayong pinapayagan pang lumayag, lalong lalo na yung pa papuntang mga isla,” said PCG Commander Armando de Guzman. With Pablo’s looming landfall, President Benigno S. Aquino III asked for an inventory of danger areas that will be hit by the storm, while Vice President Jejomar C. Binay appealed for prayers from the public for the storm to spare the country. Meanwhile, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, called on local government units (LGUs) in Visayas and Mindanao to “act quickly” and strengthen their disaster risk reduction efforts as supertyphoon “Pablo” is set to make landfall in their regions. San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada said LGUs should ensure that people residing in high-risk areas such as riverbanks, landslide-prone vicinities, and low-lying areas would be evacuated once the situation warrants. “We need to make the news reach as far out as possible. Let us not forget to inform our countrymen in places which are very vulnerable to calamities like what this supertyphoon can bring,” he said. (With reports from Mike U. Crismundo, Raymund F. Antonio, Czarina Nicole O. Ong, Genalyn D. Kabiling, JC Bello Ruiz, and Charissa M. Luci)

source: mb.com.ph

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