Rainy week ahead

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Sunday, January 12, 2014


REVELERS, bring your umbrellas. Residents in low-lying areas, watch out for flashfloods or landslides.

Reminders to stay ready for disaster mixed with the Sinulog beat now playing in many of Cebu City’s establishments, as authorities told the public to expect rains and cloudy skies in the next four days.

Weather specialist Jomar Eclarino said that the state weather bureau continues to monitor a low-pressure area (LPA), which hovered over Surigao del Sur in Mindanao as of 4 p.m. yesterday.

“We are not discounting the possibility that it may become a typhoon. We are closely monitoring its development,” Eclarino said in a phone interview.

An estimated 100 passengers were stranded in Cebu’s ports, when the captains and owners of some small vessels called off their trips because of strong waves.

A Cebu Pacific plane failed to land at the Tacloban City airport yesterday amid zero visibility caused by heavy rain.

In response to the weather, the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) office called on the police in the local governments to monitor areas prone to landslides and floods.

Pagasa’s Eclarino said that no tropical cyclone was spotted in Philippine territory as of yesterday. Pagasa stands for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

But Eclarino warned operators of small seacraft and fishing vessels in the Visayas against sailing, considering the rough waters.

The public will also continue to experience cold temperature, brought about by the northeast monsoon, in the next few weeks, Eclarino said.

At 3 p.m. yesterday, the weather bureau recorded a temperature of 23.6 degrees Celsius.

Zero visibility

Eclarino advised Sinulog revelers to bring umbrellas and other protective gear, while residents in low-lying and hilly areas should stay vigilant against flashfloods and landslides.

The LPA is expected to bring cloudy skies with occasional heavy rains that may trigger thunderstorms and landslides.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. yesterday, the Pagasa Mactan, Cebu station recorded 20.2 millimeters of rainfall, which falls under the category light to moderate rain.

But in Tacloban City, the rain was reportedly so heavy that it kept a commercial plane from landing and forced it to head back to Mactan, Cebu.

Salvador “Buddy” Estudillo, one of the passengers, said that Cebu Pacific flight 5J-2920 departed from Mactan at 11:46 a.m.

Estudillo, a governor-elect of the Rotary International District 3860 who hails from Tacloban City, said they landed back in Mactan at 1:25 p.m.

The airline reportedly allowed the passengers to get refunds of their fares.

Stranded

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) based in Mactan airport refused to give details about the incident.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that some passengers were stranded when strong waves prompted boat captains and owners to cancel some trips.

Commander Rodolfo Villajuan, chief of the Cebu Coast Guard Station, said that those canceled trips covered the routes of Cebu City-Jetafe, Bohol; Cebu City-Hilongos (Leyte); Danao City-Camotes Island; Hagnaya (Daanbantayan)-Bantayan town; Hagnaya-Sta.

Fe, Bantayan Island; Tangil, Dumanjug-Negros Oriental; and Tangil-Basak (Negros Occidental).

Also canceled by the owners and captains were the trips of the fastcraft of 2Go Shipping Lines and Weesam Shipping Lines.

Villajuan said that in Pier 3, some 100 passengers were stranded when the management of Roble Shipping Lines cancelled the Cebu City-Hilongos trip of the mv Beautiful Star.

Cebu Port Authority (CPA) General Manager Edmund Tan said some boat trips were canceled because of the low-pressure area.

Precautions

Chester Cokaliong, president and general manager of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, said three of their vessels were cleared by the Coast Guard at noon yesterday because these can withstand big waves.

He explained that because there was no typhoon warning, it was up to the boat owners and captains to decide whether or not to proceed with the trips.

As a precaution, the Capitol’s disaster risk reduction office alerted the police to watch out for landslides and floods in the different towns and cities.

John Linquiaco, PDRRM staff on-duty, said they advised the PNP to check their localities and immediately inform their local disaster risk reduction and management officer to order a preemptive evacuation, if needed.

Linquiaco said they have not received any emergency reports so far.

The PDRRM office will again send notices to the municipal and city halls, especially the local disaster risk reduction and management offices, after the weather bureau’s latest update.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 13, 2014.

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