‘Helen’ makes landfall; 21 areas under storm signals-A A +A
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
MANILA (2nd Update, 8:44 a.m.) -- Tropical Storm Helen made landfall over Isabela early Wednesday morning and is now traversing Northern Luzon, prompting the weather bureau to place at least 21 areas in Luzon under storm warning signals.
In its Twitter account, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that at 1 a.m. Wednesday, the center of “Helen” made landfall over Palanan, Isabela.
Public storm signal no. 2 is raised over Cagayan, Calayan Group of Islands, Babuyan Group of Islands, Isabela, Northern Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, Apayao, Kalinga, Ilocos Norte, Abra and Batanes Group of Islands.
The weather agency said these areas are expected to experience 61 to 100 kilometers per hour (kph) winds within the next 24 hours.
Public storm signal no. 1 (45-60 kph winds) is hoisted over Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac, La Union and the rest of Aurora.
Residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm signal nos. 2 and 1 are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.
Likewise, those living in coastal areas under public storm signal no. 2 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by Tropical Storm Helen, Pagasa said.
Classes in high school and elementary levels are automatically suspended in areas under storm signal no. 2, while classes in pre-school levels are automatically suspended in areas under storm signal no. 1.
Pagasa said stormy weather is expected over Northern Luzon, while rains and gusty winds are expected over Central Luzon.
As of 4 a.m. Wednesday, “Helen” was estimated at 60 kilometers (km) south southeast of Tuguegarao City. It packed maximum sustained winds of 85 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph. It is forecast to move west northwest at 17 kph.
The weather bureau said that if “Helen” will not change its track, it is expected to be out of the Philippine area of responsibility by Thursday towards China.
However, with the strengthening of the storm, Connie Dadivas, weather forecaster, noted that it will further enhance the southwest monsoon and will bring more rains in Metro Manila, Luzon and Western Visayas in the next few days.
She said intermittent light to heavy monsoon rains are expected in the metropolis and the western sections of Luzon and Visayas until Friday.
Pagasa said “Helen” is expected to dump intense to torrential rains or 20 to 35 millimeters per hour within its 500-km diameter.
Pagasa predicts moderate to heavy rains (7.5-12.0 mm/hr) over Mindoro, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite at early Wednesday morning and at mid-morning over Metro Manila, and intermittent light to moderate rains (2.5-7.5 mm/hr) over Central Luzon and the rest of Southern Luzon.
Pagasa also issued a gale warning as strong to gale force wind is expected to affect the seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon and Visayas.
Fishing boats and other small sea crafts are advised not to venture out into the sea, while larger sea vessels are alerted against big waves. (PNA/Sunnex)