Signal no. 1 up in 5 areas due to ‘Basyang’

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

STORM signals were raised over five areas in the Visayas and Mindanao on Thursday as the low pressure area off Surigao del Sur intensified into a tropical depression, state weather forecasters said.

The Philippine Astronomical, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said storm signal number 1 were hoisted over the provinces of Surigao del Norte, including Siargao Island, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Province, Misamis Oriental in Mindanao and Southern Leyte in the Visayas. Wind speed of up to 60 kilometers per hour (kph) may be expected in these areas in at least 36 hours.

Pagasa said the tropical depression named Basyang was about to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility Thursday evening. It was last spotted at 1,108 kilometers (km) east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur packing maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center.

Basyang is forecast to move westward at 30 kph.

The cyclone is set to make landfall over Surigao provinces late Friday evening or early Saturday morning.

Pagasa warned residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under storm warning signal against possible flashfloods and landslides.

Estimated rainfall amount is from 5-15 millimeter per hour (moderate - heavy) within the 300-km diameter of the latest weather disturbance.

Meanwhile, Philippine Coast Guard Public Affairs chief Commander Armando Balilo reminded the public that sea travel for commercial shipping lines is prohibited when a public storm warning signal is hoisted along specific areas affected by a typhoon.

A memorandum circular also mentioned if a shipping vessel was caught by public storm warning in the middle of the sea, it should take shelter immediately and not risk the lives of their passengers.

"All those [shipping operators] who will violate rules will be subjected for the suspension or revocation of their franchises," Balilo said.

The agency also advised all fishermen, even in those areas not directly affected by the storm warning to temporarily postpone their fishing ventures until the sea and weather condition improves.

The second cyclone to visit the country this year is expected to be at 320 km east northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur by Friday afternoon and at 232 km west northwest of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur or at 90 km north of Cagayan de Oro City by Saturday afternoon.

It is expected to be at 391 km west of Dipolog City by Sunday afternoon. (Sunnex)

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