‘Ofel’ accelerates; 36 areas now under storm signals-A A +A
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
CEBU CITY (4th Update, 5:15 p.m.) -- The state weather bureau raised public warning storm signals in six more areas in the country, bringing the total number of areas under watch to 36, as Tropical Storm “Ofel” accelerated on Wednesday.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Ofel (international codename: Son-Tinh) is now crossing the province of Leyte and is moving west northwest at 22 kilometers per hour (kph).
As of 4 p.m., Ofel was located in the vicinity of Ormoc City in Leyte, packing maximum winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
Placed under signal number 2 are the provinces of Masbate and Romblon in Luzon; Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran Island, Camotes Island, Capiz, Aklan, Boracay Island, Northern Cebu, Bantayan Island, and Northern Negros in the Visayas; and Dinagat Island in Mindanao.
These areas are expected to experience 61 to 100 kph of winds within the next 24 hours.
Storm signal number 1 (30-60 kph winds) is hoisted over Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Burias Island, Southern Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Calamian Group of Island, Batangas, Lubang Island, Coron Island and Cuyo Island in Luzon; Northern Samar, Antique, Iloilo, Southern Negros, Cebu, and Bohol in the Visayas; and Surigao del Norte and Siargao Island in Mindanao.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Wednesday that some 4,232 passengers were stranded in different ports in the National Capital Region (NCR), Visayas and Mindanao due to Ofel.
The agency said 173 rolling cargoes, 57 vessels and 28 motor bancas were also reported stranded.
The Coast Guard, the NDRRMC added, were reminded to be aggressive in informing the public about weather updates.
The Coast Guard was particularly reminded to warn small boats and seacrafts and fishing boats "not to venture into the sea, and/or take necessary precautionary measures when going out."
In Cebu City, sea vessels were not allowed to travel, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in Cebu ports.
Cebu Coast Guard Commander Rolando Punzalan said they will only allow the vessels to travel once the public storm warning signal is lifted.
Pagasa also warned residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals 2 and 1 alerted against possible flashflood and landslides.
Likewise, those living in coastal areas under public storm warning signal 2 are alerted against big waves or storm surges, it said.
Pagasa said Ofel is expected to be at 70 kilometers northwest of San Jose, Mindanao by Thursday afternoon, and 450 kilometers west of Iba, Zambales by Friday afternoon. (Sunnex/PNA)