‘Helen’ now a storm; 7 areas in Luzon under storm signal

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Monday, August 13, 2012

MANILA (3rd Update, 1:31 p.m.) -- Seven areas in Northern Luzon have been placed under public storm warning as Tropical Depression Helen intensified into a storm, the state weather bureau said Monday.

In its latest weather update Monday noon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said public storm signal no. 1 was raised in the provinces of Batanes, Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Cagayan, Calayan Group of Islands and Babuyan Group of Islands.

Those areas are expected to experience winds of 30 to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) within the next 36 hours.

Residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides, while those residing in coastal areas under public storm warning signal no. 1 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated, Pagasa said.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, the center of Tropical Storm Helen (international name: Kai-Tak) was located based on satellite and surface data at 550 kilometers (km) east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora.

It packed maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

Pagasa said “Helen” carries about 15-35 millimeters (mm) per hour (heavy-torrential) of rainfall within its 400-km diameter coverage.

“Helen” is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains over Luzon and the Visayas especially over the western section. The storm might leave the country by Thursday.

“Locally heavy downpours are possible across Luzon in the northern Philippines from Monday through Wednesday. This area has already seen flooding rain over the past week, and additional rainfall will result in the potential for more significant flooding and mudslides to occur,” meteorologist Eric Leister of accuweather.com said.

By the middle of the week, Leister said “Helen” could also impact Taiwan, another area which has been affected by Typhoon Saola (“Gener” in the Philippines) less than two weeks ago. “Helen” may develop into a typhoon on its way to Southern China on Thursday.

Pagasa said intermittent light to moderate rains (2.5-7.5 mm/hr) are now affecting Central and Southern Luzon becoming more frequent moderate to heavy rains (7.5-10 mm/hr) during the latter part of the day towards the evening over Camarines provinces, Quezon province, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Mindoro, Bataan, Zambales and Metro Manila.

Pagasa said “Helen” is forecast to move west northwest at 13 kph. It is expected to be 330 km east northeast of Tuguegarao City on Tuesday morning.

By Wednesday morning, it is expected to be 80 km north northeast of Aparri, Cagayan; and 220 km west of Basco, Batanes on Thursday morning. (PNA/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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