Boat trips cancelled due to Wilma-A A +A
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
LOCAL government units in Cebu were advised to take precautions, with a strong typhoon expected to enter the Philippine territory tomorrow.
Weather observer Quilie Torregoza of the Pagasa Mactan, Cebu station said the typhoon, which will be named Yolanda, will likely affect the Visayas.
The typhoon is expected to make landfall on Friday or Saturday.
Torregoza said they could not determine where exactly will the typhoon hit as it is still outside the Philippine’s area of responsibility.
Cebu’s residents can expect rains today because of a low-pressure area and the inter-tropical convergence zone affecting the Visayas and Mindanao.
Signal number one was raised in southern Cebu yesterday because of tropical depression Wilma, which brought heavy rains in Cebu.
Pagasa lifted the warning later in the day when Wilma weakened into a low-pressure area as it made a landfall in Surigao del Sur.
At 4 p.m., the low-pressure area was spotted 15 kms. southwest of Tagbilaran City.
According to the 5 p.m. forecast, the Visayas and northern Mindanao will have cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms.
Torregoza warned residents against flashfloods and landslides. Barangay disaster brigades in Mandaue City are on alert.
City Administrator James Abadia said 2,700 members of disaster brigades in 27 barangays are on standby.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has canceled all trips plying the Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor routes.
Commodore William Melad, chief of the PCG Visayas Command, said that as of 2 p.m. yesterday, the canceled trips involved seven vessels with 630 passengers at Cebu ports, 14 vessels with 3,471 passengers in Bohol, and four vessels with 244 passengers in Negros Oriental.
Commander Weniel Azcuna, chief of the Cebu Coast Guard Station, said they are the ones who declared no clearance to vessels on some routes like Cebu-Bohol and Cebu-Leyte.
Azcuna said Pagasa put under signal number one southern part of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, Siquijor, Bohol, Southern Cebu and Southern Leyte.
However, Azcuna said, PCG sometimes interprets Pagasa’s reports differently, causing problems to shipping companies and passengers.
Lucio Lim Jr., president and chief executive officer of Lite Shipping Corp. said that when the coast guard authorities ordered the cancellation of trips, the sea between Cebu and Bohol was calm.
Pagasa said that under signal number one, the typhoon is expected to arrive in the next 36 hours.
Lim said that if a typhoon under signal number one is expected to arrive within the next 36 hours, why not allow vessels plying Cebu and Bohol routes to sail from two hours to four hours only?
Lim said the cancellation of vessel trips has hampered the transport of relief goods to the earthquake victims in Bohol.
But at past 5 p.m. yesterday, the PCG-Cebu has announced it had lifted its no clearance order to let vessels resume trips.
Pagasa reported that as of noontime yesterday, typhoon Wilma was estimated to be 75 kms. northeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, moving towards Negros Oriental at the strength of 55 kph.
Wilma, the 23rd typhoon to the country this year, had a landfall in Tandag City in Surigao del Sur late yesterday afternoon and was expected to hit Central Visayas this morning.
Pagasa estimated typhoon Wilma to hit 40 kms. west of Dumaguete City this morning and will be at the vicinity of Puerto Princesa, Palawan tomorrow.
As of yesterday afternoon, Signal Number One was raised over Southern Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Southern part of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Southern Leyte, Surigao del Sorte, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental and northern part of Zamboanga del Norte.
Pagasa downgraded it to No Signal at past 5 p.m.
In a command conference yesterday at Cebu City Hall, Pag-asa Mactan weather bureau chief Oscar Tabada said storm signal due to tropical depression Wilma in all areas including the southern Cebu was already lifted late yesterday.
But the weather bureau monitored two more tropical cyclones near the Philippine Area of Responsibility.
Tabada said these cyclones could develop into tropical depression and even typhoons.
Pag-asa said the first weather disturbance to enter the country will be named Yolanda and is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility by Friday.
“There might be a possibility that Yolanda will enter the country earlier due to its fast movement,” said Tabada.
Tabada warned the City Government that although Yolanda is expected to pass Samar and Leyte, it can possibly hit Cebu because of the cold front southwest monsoon.
Tabada advised those living in the coastal areas to prepare for high tides on Thursday and Friday midnight.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 05, 2013.