‘Gener’ spares Cebu-A A +A
Monday, July 30, 2012
CEBU (Updated) -- The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa-Mactan) said Cebu was spared by Tropical Storm Gener (international codename: Saola).
Gener has slowed down slightly as it continues to threaten extreme Northern Luzon Sunday night.
In Pagasa’s 10 p.m. bulletin, Gener is spotted about 340 kilometers east northeast of Aparri, Cagayan with a center wind of 85 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 100 kph.
Pagasa hoisted signal number 2 over Cagayan Province and Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands in Northern Luzon.
Under signal number 1 are the provinces of Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao and Batanes Group of Islands. Winds from 45 kph to 60 kph will be felt in these areas, said Pagasa.
Weather forecaster Neil Fernando said it is expected that the storm will be out of the country Monday night.
Pagasa said Gener will enhance the southwest monsoon that will bring rains over central and southern Luzon and Visayas, especially the western section, and Northern Mindanao.
While there was no storm signal in Cebu on Sunday, Gener caused rough seas, aggravated by the southwest monsoon wind (Habagat).
The southwest monsoon also caused rain showers that started last Saturday up to Sunday morning. The southwest monsoon has a wind power of about 10 to 15 knots, Fernando said.
Ocean Fast Ferries Inc. and Star Ferry Corp. suspended some of their trips from Cebu City to Siquijor and from Cebu City to Tubigon, Bohol because of the southwest monsoon.
Ocean Fast Ferries operation manager Genaro Lastimado said they opted to cancel their trip to Siquijor because they don’t want to endanger the lives of the passengers.
Cebu Coast Guard Commander Rolando Punzalan said four vessels opted not to sail.
“These vessels were from other provinces bound for some parts in Cebu,” he said. He said these were passenger and cargo vessels bound for the northern part of Cebu.
“So far as of Saturday night, we received only four but other vessels may decide whether they will sail or not depending on the condition of the seawaters,” he said.
Punzalan said that whether they released an advisory or not regarding the suspension of trips, the master of the vessel has the authority to decide.
The national and local disaster units have been placed on “red alert” status as Gener gained strength Sunday afternoon, posing “intense danger” to extreme northern Luzon.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Chief Benito Ramos said a red alert status requires all disaster management personnel to be on standby and all vacation leaves deferred.
Ramos also advised fishermen in Northern Luzon not to set sail due to rough seas brought by Gener.
It warned residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals and areas affected by the southwest monsoon were alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.
Pagasa said Gener will bring an estimated rainfall amount of 10-20 millimeters per hour, which is considered “heavy – intense,” within its 700 kilometers diameter.
With this and other effects of the tropical storm, the government advised residents in areas currently on Gener’s path to heed the warnings of local and provincial disaster risk management councils.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said all concerned government units have already been alerted in case of any eventuality.
In North Cotabato, the tropical storm resulted in damage of at least 25 hectares of rice fields in six villages.
Among the affected areas were Barangay Binay in Magpet and Barangays Tuael, Idaoman, Kamarahan, Tuael, Idaoman and Kamarahan in President Roxas town.
In Camiguin Province, four municipalities were also affected by floods that displaced more than 600 families. In Mahinog town, 132 families were affected while 300 families in Guinsiliban and 83 in Sagay.
Barangays Alga, Poblacion/Looc and Catibac in Catarman were among those heavily affected by the floods, displacing at least 123 families.
Other flooded areas were barangays Tangaro, Lawigan, Bonbon and Panghiawan, all in Poblacion Catarman.
However, no casualties were reported by the Camiguin Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Gener is the seventh tropical storm to enter the Philippine area of responsibility this year, Fernando said.
Considering that an average of 20 storms pass the Philippines every year, Pagasa forecasters are expecting 13 more storms that will enter the country toward the end of the year.
Fernando classified weather disturbances as tropical depression for those below 55 kms. per hour, tropical storm for those from 65 kms. to 100 kms. per hour, and typhoon for those above 100 kms. per hour. (EOB of Sun.Star Cebu/With JBT/Abigail Chee Kee Malalis of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/PNA/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2012.